The nonprofit Seacoast Family Promise had hoped to provide training, medical and social services at a new day center in an Exeter neighborhood. But after two months of back and forth, the town’s Zoning Board of Adjustment voted the proposal down Tuesday night.
Although the nonprofit says all guests would have passed criminal background and illegal drug tests, neighbors continued to worry the center would reduce property values and impact neighborhood safety.
But board member Rick Thielbar -- who voted to deny the a zoning exception-- says his concern was not the day center itself, but the fact that a zoning exception could be passed on to future property owners. "The possibility that someone less virtuous would come along later has to be taken into consideration," he says.
John Hauschildt, also on the Zoning Board of Adjustment, voted to allowing the exception. He says "the likelihood that someone else would take over the property and be able to meet the conditions that would have been put on it are extremely low."
Seacoast Family Promise has raised $300,000 for their new center. To open it, they’ll have to look somewhere else.