We Stay Free, Inc., has a Special Exception Appeal Hearing set for September 22, 2016, in Robertson County, www.robertsoncountytn.org, regarding the housing of previously incarcerated individuals being assimilated back into society.
We Stay Free, Inc., known as a cooperative housing facility, is anticipated to be operational in Pleasant View as early as October, depending on the outcome of the appeal hearing and issuance of permits.
A 2,510 square foot home with five-acres located at 7118 Highway 41-A, Pleasant View, zoned AG-2 (Agricultural/Residential) has been purchased in a residential area by Dr. Kate King, the facilitator of the We Stay Free, Inc.
Location of the property is primarily in Robertson County, with approximately 25% of the property located in Cheatham County under a Pleasant View address. Issuance of permits and property taxes are under the provision of Robertson County.
Residents neighboring the property or residing nearby have voiced concerns and filed complaints with Cheatham County and Robertson County zoning departments.
According to state and federal laws shelters, centers for rehabilitation, halfway housing or transitional housing are mandated to be a minimum of 1000 feet from the proximity of playgrounds, ballparks, schools and daycares.
Although the location of the dwelling is in compliance with state and federal laws residents with children question why a housing facility for formerly incarcerated individuals would be allowed, or even considered given a permit(s) to operate in a residential community.
Dr. Kate King, a retired 25-year Criminology Professor and President of the operation clarified in a recent Letter to Editor in the I-24 Exchange (can be read at www.exchangehotspot.com, September 9, 2016 edition) the housing facility would be considered a cooperative residential arrangement providing a safe residence whereby approved individuals would live as a family sharing meals, entertainment and chores.
Two previously incarcerated individuals assimilating successfully back into society and two struggling veterans, according to King, are expected to reside within the home when it becomes operational. A former police officer will also reside full-time at the property located at 7118 Highway 41-A to supervise the home.
King stated the home would not be operated as a “halfway house” or a for profit enterprise requiring residents to pay rent or other fees but residents would be expected to maintain employment, contributing financially to the upkeep, maintenance, of the facility as well as provide for themselves.
Residents considered for participation in the cooperative residential arrangement will be fully vetted by We Stay Free, Inc., and individuals with sex offender or arsenic charges will not be allowed to reside at the home.
Neighboring community residents, along with county residents, who’ve voiced objections with the establishment of We Stay Free, Inc., have stated they aren’t against incarcerated individuals given a second chance in the appropriate environment but stated they didn’t see Pleasant View as the best environment for this operation.
Aside from safety concerns residents fear declining property values, affecting resell values and difficultly selling their property if, We Stay Free, Inc., were allowed to facilitate the cooperative housing arrangement in Pleasant View.
Robertson County Board of Zoning Appeals will be holding a public hearing on September 22, 2016, at 6:00 p.m. in the conference room on the third floor of the Robertson County Office Building located at 527 South Brown Street, Springfield.
Community residents, agents or attorneys are invited to the hearing to express concerns, present cause or reasons why We Stay Free, Inc., should or should not be allowed issuance of a permit for a group care home for formerly incarcerated individuals.
Anyone unable to attend the meeting may submit written communications regarding We Stay Free, Inc., to Robertson County Zoning Department before September 22, 2016.
Additional information regarding We Stay Free, Inc., their mission, company and respective owners can be found at We Stay Free, Inc. Facebook Page, website www.westayfree.com or view previous articles printed in the I-24 Exchange at www.exhangehotspot.com.
Be sure to follow Cheatham News for updates on We Stay Free., Inc.