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Letter: Concerned with facility

Dear Editor,

The concerns that were brought before the Common Council on Nov. 10 did not in any way question the obvious right of anyone to live wherever they choose.

They did question the general wisdom of a business enterprise being located in residential zoning without any process being applied, and the more specific issues related to an unlicensed operation being staffed by unlicensed caregivers who are responsible for the care and safety of two elderly residents.

Our legislators in Madison, possibly with the best of intentions to facilitate alternative living arrangements for senior citizens, have left a loophole available to anyone who can claim that their operation houses less than three residents. No licensure of either the facility or its workers is required at the state, county or city level.

Indeed, the statutes effectively strip local control from any government entity that might have an interest in protecting the health and safety of its elderly residents in this type of arrangement. Local zoning laws, conditional use permits and any other local regulations, in fact any processes at all, are rendered irrelevant as long as the operator stays at a residency number below three individuals.

Why should the first two people entrusted to the care of these businesses not be afforded any protection aside from the good faith of the operator?

Good faith? The entrepreneur who has established this business on a residentially zoned street represented herself to me and several of my neighbors as the marketing specialist and residential placement coordinator for a certain Minnesota-based provider of high-quality senior residential services. That the company was opening a facility here in Hudson came as a complete surprise to the founder/owner of the establishment. In other words, this individual has bootlegged a business enterprise using the good name and reputation of her employer.

Is this the person whose word we shall accept that she is operating within either the letter or the spirit of the law? There is no way that I know of to verify how many elderly residents are or will be living at 1015 Crest View Drive, or how they are being cared for.

This may well be a precedent for what could easily be many more "economy-sized" facilities that may or may not be physically adequate, and are not subject to regulation or local oversight.

Don't our elders deserve better than this?