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Judge approves group home for Black Rock

July 24, 2018

BRIDGEPORT - A Superior Court judge on Tuesday upheld the application of Boys and Girls Village Inc. to open a group home for troubled teenaged boys in Black Rock.

Following a hearing, Judge Dale Radcliffe ruled that the city’s Planning and Zoning Commission’s decision to issue the non-profit organization a special permit was reasonable and he dismissed the appeal brought by 675 Kings Highway LLC which had opposed the application.

The site of the proposed group home is a two-family house on Bennett Street that was previously purchased by Boys and Girls Village. It is next door to the regional office of Boys and Girls Village.

“This is a great decision and my clients are very relieved and pleased,” said Bridgeport lawyer Charles Willinger, who represents Boys and Girls Village. “Judge Radcliffe did an excellent job of understanding the facts and applying them to the law. There is no adverse impact on the neighborhood by my client’s purchase, improvements and use of the property.”

The opposing party, 675 Kings Highway, is owned by Peter DiNardo, the son of long-time city real estate magnet and developer Salvatore DiNardo. They did not return calls for comment.

In June 2017, Boys and Girls Village submitted an application to the zoning commission to change the zoning classification for the property, according to court records. Boys and Girls Village proposed to operate the Hamilton Program, a program funded by the state Judicial Branch’s Court Support Services Division, there.

The program is open to boys, ages 14 to 18, who are on juvenile supervision of probation and the facility would house a maximum of six boys, the application states.

Officials of Boys and Girls Village explained during a public hearing that the boys staying at the facility are required to attend school from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. and that lights are turned off in the facility by 10 p.m. Two supervisors would be assigned to the facility overnight.

The commission received letter in support of the facility from neighbors, the regional administrator of the state Department of Children and Families and Action for Bridgeport Community Development Inc. the operator of a day care facility across the street from the proposed group home.

However, 675 Kings Highway LLC, the owner of the building housing ABCD’s day care, vehemently opposed the application contending the proposal was not for a group home but an alternative incarceration center.

The zoning commission later approved the application in a 7 to 1 vote.

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