MARCH 24, 2006 -- Some Wilmington residents are upset over three halfway houses permitted within a mile of each other.
The Wilmington Planning and Zoning Committee is in the process of granting a permit to turn a house off Pine Needle Drive in to the area's third halfway house. The location for that house falls within a mile of the other two halfway houses. A loophole in the zoning laws made it possible.
According to zoning laws, halfway houses in residential areas cannot be within half a mile of each other. However because one house is on a commercial lot, the permit will be granted.
Many neighbors along Pine Needle Drive are angry. They say they are worried about the safety of the operation. They also say the city didn't notify them of the changes.
The city says according to the Fair Housing Act, it is illegal to notify neighbors about the halfway house.
The operator of the new halfway house says they maintain a strict policy. They screen residents and do not accept sex offenders or violent criminals.