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Tuesday, October 27, 2020

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#1: After 1-28-12 meeting

Possible Impact of MDC in Rochester’s Future Closing

With less than 24 hours notice, 61 residents gathered at the Middlesex Fire Hall at 10am, last Saturday, January 28th, to hear what little information had sifted down through State channels of the OWPDD (NYS Office of People With Developmental Disabilities) in Albany and the local FLDDSO (Finger Lakes Developmental Disabilities Service Organization).

Local Town Officials learned less than two weeks ago that the state-owned Residential Home serving adults with disabilities on South Vine Valley Rd. would soon close, be modified and reopened with an unspecified population.

Residents at this home and their families have experienced anger and frustration as they only recently received verbal notification by staff that occupants were required to move from their Middlesex home, some far from their current location. Some of these individuals in residence may be able to attend the day treatment programs they regularly attend with familiar staff and peers, but most will not.

Inquirers were told that this move is being mobilized due to State Fire Safety codes that require upgrades to the existing fire suppression system – a sprinkler system for the protection and safe evacuation of its occupants during a fire event. The question asked is why these safety upgrades could not be made, moving present population back in once renovations are completed, has not been given. Also unanswered is how long the State has known of the violation and if house occupants have therefore been living in a building that does not meet applicable safety codes for some time.

The residential home at 6166 South Vine Valley Road is nestled in a picturesque valley on the east side of Canandaigua Lake on the edge of Ontario and Yates County lines peeking out between Historic Bare Hill and the grand expanse of open land on top of South Hill. It proudly boasts of being a popular seasonal resort community which enjoys a Town public beach and many privately owned summer cottages and homes upon its shoreline.

The state-owned residential home was purchased as an existing residence approximately 20 years ago and currently holds a 9 – bed capacity. Once renovated, it has been stated from resources within the local FLDDSO, the current population will be “backfilled” with an undetermined population from the Monroe Developmental Center in Rochester NY, also slated for future closing. It is believed that 40 out of the 120 that are currently detained within its walls will be dispersed amongst existing FLDDSO homes in this area. It has not been learned how many will be placed at the South Vine Valley location after renovations or what the potential level of security risk is associated with the intended future occupants.

Community residents are petitioning the New York State Office for People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD) as well as local FLDDSO Administrative Director, Mr. Michael Feeney, requesting him to address their questions, concerns giving full disclosure of the future plans for this residence, including the type of population that will be in residence. All concerned residents were urged to contact their local Assemblyman Phil Palmesano (518-455-5791) and Senator Tom O’Mara (518-455-2091) to support their rights as constituents and ask for assistance in acquiring important data from the State about these concerns. Senator Jim Alesi (518) 455-2015 was also listed as a possible source to contact as he is known to own a summer house and property within close proximity.

Saturday’s meeting brought unanimous consensus on the following three points:

1) compassion for the long time occupants of the facility whose lives are being disrupted and their regular consistent schedules drastically changed.
2) active pursuit of information from the State and local FLDDSO Administration to learn the future intent and risks associated with the population intended to inhabit this group home.
3) active promotion of an intended use which is compatible with the character of the area, the safety of families and children who enjoy its seasonal and year-round recreational benefits, as well as the protection of property values or the perceived “taking” of residents’ community rights.

A website is under construction as a vehicle to provide blank petitions, formatted sample letters to our local politicians, and the opportunity to share a “blog” to encourage communication with a significant seasonal population currently away while this is occurring. Updates will be posted as they are learned to facilitate piecing together what the State has not disclosed.

All concerned residents in the community of Middlesex are invited to a 2nd meeting at the Town of Middlesex Fire Hall on Saturday, February 4th at 10 am to further discuss sub-committees’ efforts and research results. Local FLDDSO Director Michael Feeney and his Deputy Assistant have been invited and confirmed they will attend this community meeting for the purpose of addressing questions and concerns from the community.


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