On Thursday, Lubbock Zoning Board Members had to decide one of two things during their meeting: protect property values, or allow a man to open a house for better care of the elderly.
Shelton Berry makes his bed everyday. "We built it and moved in September 1962," said Berry, a resident of the Leftwich Monterey Heights Addition. He has called this matured neighborhood home for 42 years. A friendly place he says, but a neighboring house could have changed things.
"There's no reason they should be stuck over in a hospital scene with no scenery. It's not the way it should be when they reach that age," said Zane Noble, Lubbock businessman. Noble wanted to convert a house on 55th street into a group home. A place to care for 11 elderly people. He says group homes allow more one-on-one attention and provide a home-like environment for those who need special care.
So far, Lubbock has about five of these large group homes in operation. But if you talk to the neighbors, it's not a business they want next door to them. Resident Betty Wheeler says it boils down to adequate care. "I don't think anyone in our neighborhood even thought of the possibility of denying any person, handicapped, elderly, for living in our neighborhood. It was the fact that 11 people were going to be in a four bedroom/two bath house," said Wheeler.
"If it were an elderly couple that wanted to take in some people and they needed it for their income, I wouldn't have like it, but I wouldn't have been down to city hall protesting," said Berry.
"All against? Nay. I'm sorry motion fails," said Zoning Vice Chair, Jay House.
More than a dozen neighbors protested in front of the zoning board saying the group home would have depreciated their property values and increased traffic in their neighborhood.
Meanwhile, Noble can still use the house for elderly care, However, he is limited to only four people instead of the 11 he originally wanted.
The City of Lubbock says it has about 50 group homes with four or less occupants, about five have up to 12 occupants. The Zoning Board looks at each case one case at a time.