Once upon a time at 118 Spring Road in Malvern, PA in East Whiteland Township, Chester County was lovely family home in General Warren Village. They celebrated Christmas, Halloween, births, deaths, graduations, weddings and other celebrations. They were part of a tight knit community. And General Warren Village is multi-generational which is also why I find it so special.
But eventually, everyone was gone and the family who were left and all had their own homes and whatnot, sold the property. I think they probably thought they were selling to a good company, but I remain jaded about these companies….who run group houses for disadvantaged adults.
No one, myself included, has any negative feelings towards the heirs of 118 Spring Road. They only did what their sad duty and responsibility to surviving family and deceased family had them do. We all wish some of the homes our families have known could stay captured in time and in our families. But we live in a rather expensive world and just often, well can’t.
118 Spring Road was purchased by a non-profit out of New Jersey. Called Community Options, Inc. Like a HUGE Devereaux or KenCrest. Only because they are nationwide, I have to wonder what is altruistic in their business model and what is profit-centric?
These non-profits who house people and own properties are entities, and right or wrong, I am skeptical of them. Not for what they SAY they do, but for what they sometimes DON’T do and they are privately owned, so if there wasn’t profit somewhere would their calling to help still exist? And because of the nature of who they house, they enjoy some Federal protections, don’t they? And their non-profit status means they escape the taxes the rest of us pay, correct? So these group homes should be close to perfect, correct? Perfect for the families entrusting them with their loved ones, the residents, and their neighbors, except they often are NOT terrific, correct?
My neighborhood lives with a KenCrest house. The relationship has been bumpy over the years. Their have been issues from time to time, but not EVER issues like I am hearing about concerning 118 Spring Road Malvern. My neighborhood and KenCrest have worked to build a better relationship, and if we see a problem, we have people in their organization we can call, and things get taken care of. But this Community Options is giving me a whiff of all of the problems with Devereux housing in the area, ok? Sadly, the Devereaux houses and Devereaux make the news way too often in Chester County, don’t they? Horrible stories.
But back to Community Options Inc. which now own 118 Spring Road, Malvern. Community Options has no Chester County office per se, so who knows who regionally is responsible? Delaware County, Allentown, or King of Prussia? See screenshots below in case anyone, media included wish to contact them.
So this morning as in today, I get a message from a friend whose elderly mother is a neighbor:
Great ….they just had 3 police cars at the group house next to my mother’s home. A patient beat up a female worker and ripped off her blouse. Then there was fighting– the police now in the neighbors yard on the other side of their house. Cops were took him to the ground several times until the third car got there and they got him under control.~concerned person over incident at 118 spring road 8/6/22
I asked my friend a few more questions about this house which is fairly new in my opinion/estimation to have so many issues. I am told police have responded to this address several times so is that the job of our local police to babysit a non-profit’s property where they don’t pay taxes that support things like first responders and infrastructure? Why do neighbors and police have the added burden of dealing with this? I also heard that East Whiteland had to contact them about maintaining the property with things as basic as cutting the lawn and weeds?
My friend further said to me:
Don’t they have to run an orderly business and have control of their patients when they are permitted to be placed into neighborhoods ? As it sure looks like they have a pattern of showing they are unable to control safely the patients they are housing there. No less the safety of senior citizens and young children living around them. What recourse do we have to protect our elderly relatives that live by them ?~~concerned person over incident at 118 spring road 8/6/22
And that is thing of it: there are elderly residents who have lived there and raised families there, as well as young families who are currently raising families who are starting to feel unsafe. So maybe this house gets special Federal Government love, but what about the rights of EVERYONE ELSE?
Now I found a disturbing New York report or article on homes like this and they specifically referenced an “early action letter” being sent to Community Options NY.
And I have been checking out reviews and such on the Internet about Community Options Inc. Take Indeed which is a job website do NOT have glowing reviews from employees. (“A terrible place to work.” ; “Horrible”; “Poor work environment”, etc) The Google reviews are not much better.
So has anyone seen their licenses with the Commonwealth of PA? Did they have to go in front of any boards or commissions in East Whiteland Township to move into a residential neighborhood and does a group home like this require licensing or a change in zoning?
I pulled the deed transfer and the mortgage on 118 Spring Road. I am embedding them here. I also noted something kind of weird on a signature page where the notary public also signed on someone else’s signature line. A very long time ago, for a few years, I was a notary public. I never signed on someone else’s signature line, but maybe some rule somewhere has changed?
I also pulled the mortgage Community Options Inc in case any of the neighbors are interested. It looks like there are stipulations? I also pulled the IRS form 990 for 2020. Remember about what I said about making money? Well…ummm…and oh yeah nice salaries.
I am NOT against special needs houses in neighborhoods. I have even seen them in fancy Gladwyne, PA neighborhoods. But there are good group houses and not so fabulous group houses.
And as per some perusing on the Internet:
“All personal care homes are licensed by the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services. Personal care homes also meet state and local health, fire and safety laws and regulations. The personal care home regulations are available at the following link: 55 Pa. “
So Community Options Inc, ball is in your court. Talk to neighbors, apologize to neighbors (and township), check on the safety of your employees. Robert T Stack is the CEO or something. He signed the mortgage. You can find him on Twitter at @RobertStackCOI . You can find THEM on Twitter @COINATIONAL. According to ProPublica Stack makes something like $948,380.00 so maybe he can reassure us in Chester County and inspect the house personally?
To conclude: YES those group houses for adults with various disabilities have a legal right to exist in our communities. HOWEVER, neighborhood residents of group house locations have the right to not be upset by houses with problems like 118 Spring Road Malvern is thus far. In that vein, people entrust their relatives to these companies with these group houses and expect the residents to be safe and well cared for. And the employees of these group homes should also be safe. Was what happened today something that would make anyone feel safe?
What are the licenses and permits involved (state, local, etc) for this Community Options Inc. location at 118 Spring Road Malvern PA 19355?
What are the rights of the neighbors who live near this home who have been there in some cases decades?
These group homes are everywhere. As I said I have one owned by someone else in my neighborhood. In my neighborhood, the group home’s owners have worked really hard to create an environment that everyone can live with. It’s not always perfect, but as residents we know exactly whom to contact in the event of a problem.
Zoning for Spring Road:
Zoning for a pre-existing special needs home in East Whiteland:
It would be nice if this new place at 118 Spring Road owned by Community Options Inc. made an effort with neighbors and the company which owns this location took ownership of the issues like the police activity today and addressed and dealt with it. The community is watching and the community has rights, too, correct? I mean how does a house like this just move into a regular residential neighborhood anyway? Isn’t it an institutional usage?
Thanks for stopping by.