Group care home for disabled senior citizens surprises neighbors in West Omaha

Published: Mar. 9, 2021 at 7:57 PM CST
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - Homeowners in a newer West Omaha subdivision are shocked to learn what is being built in the middle of their neighborhood.

They’re used to home construction in Spruce Ridge but one new foundation has neighbors taking a second look.

Neighbor Steve Knapp said, “You see it’s a massive foundation, certainly a lot different and larger than any residential home would be, so it stands out.”

Zillow lists the property as having eight bedrooms and six baths.

Neighbor Mark Watton said,” Originally, I was told it was going to be a rehab center.”

The builder has been put on notice to cease and desist construction or face legal action. No workers were seen this morning.

“A little bit under the radar is the way I’d put it yeah,” said Watton.

The developer’s attorney Brent Beller tells 6 News he believes an assisted living facility for up to eight disabled senior citizens and staff has been under construction. That violates the covenants about building a business among homes.

Neighbor Ashley Anderson said, “It’s very frustrating that we’ve had no advanced notice and we don’t know anything about it. Safety concerns with young children in this neighborhood not knowing who is coming and going in this facility.”

Although city records list a single-family dwelling, Omaha’s chief building inspector says zoning allows up to eight unrelated disabled people under one roof. No special use permit is required and neighbors don’t have to be notified.

The Watton’s who live next door know about it now.

Neighbor Diana Watton said, “I would have never invested this kind of money in a house to live next to this type of facility. I think there are better places for it.”

Neighbors say this structure they know little about is a strange fit for the neighborhood. Not only because a lot of kids in the neighborhood but there’s a very busy street out front.

The neighborhood’s main drag has a steady flow of residents and contractor traffic.

Knapp said, “Parking is going to be an issue because there are not garages. Where are they going to park, are they going to park on the streets?”

Understanding that disabled senior citizens may need homestyle living neighbors, the neighbors worry about the long-term care of their property values.

The builder told 6 News that he and the care organization involved in the project are gathering information and will provide more information within the next week.

The attorney for Spruce Ridge claims the builder didn’t submit plans to the developer before starting and that violates the subdivision covenants.

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