Here is an article about the misbehavior of employees at a residential-care facility. The elderly residents are not the problem. The sort of people who work there, however, seem to be not well-behaved. The residents should work with the company to see that the employees turn off, or down, their loud radios as they drive into the neighborhood [I trust they don’t play loud music in front of the actual patients!], drop their cigarette butts into the trash can and keep the trash can covered, and don’t do activities that involve leaking oil onto the sidewalk or the street. If these neighbors are the sort that have time on their hands, they can go out and police the situation themselves, as they should. If they go out in groups of two or more, they can intimidate any health worker who won’t turn down his radio. They could also visit the home and build relationships with the patients, if they know how to do that [communicating with the Alzheimer’s types is a skill]. If they are the sort that commute over the hill and don’t have any free time [and aren’t at home much!] they might still find something to do. I can’t help seeing this not so much as a land-use issue as a behavioral issue. The neighbors should be supportive, while insisting that the employees conduct themselves in a way appropriate to such a neighborhood.
Some of these comments hint that the companies running these homes are profiteers doing it on the cheap. That can be handled at the county or state level. If conditions for the actual residents of the home are bad [and the neighbors need to check into that aspect of it] there are steps that can be taken.
On the other hand, some other kinds of group homes have problematic residents. The halfway houses, the alcoholic recovery homes and the like, make neighbors nervous. To some extent, the neighborhood should take the same approach with them – support, but see that they behave.
I am open to the idea, also, of a ‘light industrial+special residential’ zone. The idea here is that space is needed for these facilities, and it is not so much a matter of trying to ‘integrate’ every neighborhood, but that sufficient space is provided for institutions of this kind. The state has already intervened by making it legal to have up to six people in a home under residential zoning. I would also favor the Lupton Proviso, originated by Bob Lupton from Atlanta. This would require that persons in recovery homes and places of that kind have been a resident in the community, not in a home, for some years before they entered the home. This would mean that the people in the home were ‘our’ people, not some strangers being imported into the neighborhood. And they may be known. And there could be a rule that these group homes [unless they are in an industrial – special residential area] can’t be too close to each other. Newport Beach has had issues with recovery homes on the Peninsula; a rule keeping them from being too close to each other would be fine; so would a Lupton Proviso. Newport Beach has produced plenty of its own alcoholics!