URGENT! Stop Discrimination of Disabled Adults in Flowery Branch Georgia!
This petition made change with 1,311 supporters!
A community member has started a petition to not allow a group of developmentally disabled adults and their families build a community for them to live in Flowery Branch, Georgia. The petitioner is making tons of false statements in order to garner support. The petition is not only entirely discriminatory and mean, it's untrue and immoral. How can we as people tell someone that because they are disabled they cannot live near us? The organization that is building the facility has two other very successful facilities that have been great for their communities and people love them! They had the same concerns about property values but have found that this amazing organization has not hindered property values and has brought positive changes to the community. The program supports people with developmental delays such as autism, down syndrome, learning disabilities, people that have head injuries from car accidents and more! They deserve a right to live, work, play and grow just like the rest of us! Can you imagine if you had a child that was born with autism or survived a car accident and then your neighbor said they did not want you to live by them! One of the petition statements says that mentally ill people go in and kill children at schools! They have no understanding at all of the client base that this organization serves...and how could they possibly be so insulting, discriminatory and mean! We all know someone with autism or learning disability...if you believe that they have the right to a full and complete life, please sign this petition. Let's be decent human beings and do right by our neighbors!
The article below explains better than I can, this was in Access North Georgia:
FLOWERY BRANCH - The applicant for a 158-unit development that would serve developmentally disabled adults in South Hall County has responded to an online petition drive against the proposed rezoning.
The applicant, Roswell-based Beckel Inc, is seeking to rezone 21.3-acre site at the intersection of McEver and Radford Roads. The move would rezone the property from agricultural residential III to planned residential development.
Beckel Inc. works with "Just" People, a non-profit organization that provides support services to adults with developmental disabilities. The non-profit currently has communities in Roswell and Lilburn.
While the Hall County Planning Commission gave a unanimous recommendation for approval last week, seven residents spoke in opposition to the plans. Several days ago a petition was circulated on the change.org website in opposition to the plans.
Kevin Dowling is Director of Beckel, Inc. He took issue with several of the statements made on the petition.
One of those is the assertion that the development would be subsidized by Section 8 or the federal government's program for assisting very low-income families, the elderly and the disabled.
"It's not Section 8. There's no government assistance. It's all paid for privately. They (residents) don't qualify for Section 8. Their incomes are too high," Dowling said. "As a matter of fact, 98 of them are on a Royal Caribbean cruise in Belize as we speak."
The standard two-bedroom unit (roommate floorplan) rents for $1440-$1500/month, Beckel officials noted in an email statement.
Dowling also addressed concerns about the type of clients the community would serve.
"We don't consider anybody that has any type of violence or history of that type of mental illness. Our people have Down Syndrome, occasionally head injuries, short term memory, Asperger’s, those type issues. They're high-functioning adults. They all work," Dowling said.
New residents are pre-screened and must apply for a national background check. While many come from "Just" People day programs, all of them must go through a three-month orientation period and evaluation, according to Beckel.
Dowling and his wife live and work in the "Just" People development in Roswell. He said property values, a concern in the opposition petition, don't seem to have been impacted.
"Across the street, after we built this, they built million dollar homes. Behind us is a high end neighborhood that the homes are from four to $700,000."
There are two private schools located less than a mile from the Roswell development, according to the Beckel statement. It goes on to say a Roswell school has hired "Just" People clients as cafeteria helpers.
Dowling said Beckel has sent out invitations to neighbors for a barbecue on the property next Tuesday. He said representatives will be on hand to answer questions.
"They'll find out that they're ("Just" People residents) a great group of people. They're really a great group to be around," Dowling said.
The change.org petition against the project had reached around 500 signatures Wednesday afternoon.
The Hall County Commission will make the final determination on the rezoning request.
AccessWDUN's Marc Eggers and Brian Stewart contributed to this story.
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