Some residents in the Brunswick County town of Navassa are up in arms. The town council recently approved building a group home for youthful offenders, but residents say they were not notified about it. It is a facility they say they do not want in their neighborhood.
“We are not standing still any more. If you’re not transparent to people, you got something to hide,” said Ella Beatty.
Beatty was one of many Navassa residents who spoke their mind to town council Wednesday night. In late December, council approved bringing a group home for troubled kids to Wideway Road in Navassa. It would be a locked facility that holds about 12 people, seven to 17 years old. But there was miscommunication somewhere; residents say they were not aware of it.
“When you have something of this magnitude come into your community, folks need to know,” said Beatty.
Navassa mayor, Eulis Willis said, “I’ve explained to them that we went above and beyond the call of duty when we let them know in four or five different ways that technically we didn’t have to.”
Mayor Willis said there were newspaper notices and signs posted. Residents said the proposed facility threatens their property value and their safety.
“I know everybody needs a home, but we don’t need it in this area. Let them carry it somewhere else, where the builder lives and put it next to him,” added Navassa resident, Bryant Bessant.
Mayor Willis said the council approved the home at the planning board’s recommendation and jobs were the major selling point behind bringing it to Navassa. But that is not the only reason. Mayor Willis said, “This is a $700,000 facility, as well, you can do the math a realize that that’s a pretty nice little tax penny.”
The developer, Alfred Dixon, was at the public meeting, but when he saw the News Channel 3 camera said he was not going to participate. He addressed some questions from the hallway and did not enter the room during the entire meeting.
Whether to move forward with the house is now up to the developer and the state. The council decided to hold another public meeting sometime soon.