Home for delinquents causes concern in Ashland City
Zoning board in Ashland City meets Jan. 29, 2013 to discuss the juvenile delinquent home.
ASHLAND CITY, TN (WSMV) -
In Cheatham County, residents are asking how a home for juvenile delinquent teenage boys was able to open directly across from a Girl Scout camp without anyone knowing about it.
Residents said they didn't even know the for-profit Oak Bridge Home had moved into the neighborhood until some of its young men started getting into trouble.
On Tuesday night, the residents told the local zoning board they feared for their safety.
"In the last week, my parent's property has been trespassed on. We have pictures of that. We saw two people with hoodies and a flashlight," said a neighbor who attended the meeting.
The home recently moved into a historic house at the end of a driveway on Highway 49 East. Neighbors started to get worried when they heard that there had been a number of escapes.
With the Girl Scout Camp Sycamore next door, there was big concern.
"Camp Sycamore provides a place for parents to send their girls to have fun and to learn the mission of the Girl Scouts. These parents have entrusted their daughters to the Girl Scouts," said Eugenia Clark. "Keep in mind that it's not just the girls. It's the volunteers that come with them."
The group home houses 10 or more boys in their late teens under a contract with the Department of Children's Services. Some have been found by the court to be juvenile delinquents and could have committed sexual offenses.
The problem is the land isn't zoned for that kind of business. Anne-Michele Oliver represented the company with the boy's home, called RESCAR, which is an international firm with four facilities in Tennessee.
Oliver said she believed the property had the proper zoning. It turns out it doesn't have the proper zoning, so her company filed an appeal.
"There was never intent to be out of compliance and not follow procedure," said Oliver.
Neighbors worried that with privacy laws being what they are they'd never find out exactly what type of troubled kids lived at the house. The board sympathized with them and denied the zoning appeal.
It's not clear how soon the company has to leave the house. They could appeal in court if they chose to do so.
County Mayor David McCullough said the home had 10 911 calls in just one month and 11 boys have escaped.
"We had an 18-year-old who left the property and they couldn't find him, so they had to call out the sheriff to run this individual down," said McCullough. "I'm glad they're gone, and I wish them the best. And hope they can find a place that's more conducive."
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