No Warm Welcome By Councilors To Potential ‘Sober House’
The New Bedford City Council is taking a stand against dropping a facility for up to 12 recovering addicts in the middle of a historical neighborhood west of downtown without any say in the matter.
Real estate company SGS Holding recently purchased the property at 49 Hawthorn Street and intends to use it as a "sober house."
Residents are not in favor of the idea and held a community meeting earlier this week to speak out to city officials.
Thursday night, the City Council voted to invite listed owner of SGS Holding, Steven Sheldon, to an upcoming Committee on Appointments and Briefings meeting to discuss the details of his company's plans.
Council President Brian Gomes says he's not against creating new treatment facilities in the city, but just wants them to be located in the appropriate areas. He says this neighborhood represents significent city history.
"This is our history in that neighborhood and buildings have been there and houses have been there going back to 1885. The history I want to protect, I want to protect the neighborhood as it is," Gomes said.
Gomes has also invited Congressman Bill Keating, Senator Mark Montigny and State Representative Antonio Cabral in the hopes of changing policies at the State level for situations like this.
As it stands, the city would potentially face federal housing and discrimination suits if it tries to prevent the proposed use of the property.