Williamsburg group home plans move

Contact Reporterwwright@vagazette.com

A group home that caused commotion because of its placement in a single-family home within residential neighborhood in 2016 plans to change addresses, although it is still staying in the city.

Gateway Homes, the Virginia-based company that operates the home, plans to move the facility to South Boundary Street, according to the state Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services.

Gateway Homes caused a stir in 2016 when the city and neighbors found out about the company's plans to open the group home at 101 Woodmere Drive, less than 500 feet from Walsingham Academy.

At the time, the company did not need to tell city staff about its plans. The group home houses clients of Hampton-Newport News Community Services Board.

In 2016, Gateway officials said the state Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services was aware of the plans, and it did not need to notify the city of Williamsburg.

"Neither the state nor the company that runs the group home is required to let us know if they are closing," said Lee Ann Hartmann, a spokesperson for the city.

The owners of the house Gateway rented along Woodmere Drive are selling the property, forcing the company to relocate the group home said Lynda Hyatt, executive and clinical director of Gateway Homes.

The home will move once the existing lease is up in June, Hyatt said.

"The owners live out of state," she said. "What we were told was they wanted to sell the house."

David Coe, executive director of Colonial Behavioral Health, said he has heard Gateway's move to its new location has gone smoothly. Colonial Behavioral Health is a health organization that serves individuals struggling with mental illness and intellectual disability in the Williamsburg area.

"I believe they have relocated to another address in the city, and that all is going well there," he wrote in an email.

Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services communications director Maria Reppas confirmed the home is moving to 308 S. Boundary St.

The new location puts the home in downtown, close to the Stryker Center and the Williamsburg Regional Library.

"The people who were there know where they'll be," said Hyatt, who would not confirm the address. They all had a (community services board representative). Everyone who needs to know, already knows."

Hyatt was careful to say that even in a small sample size of months, the people staying in the group home at Woodmere Drive transitioned into the neighborhood smoothly in her estimation.

"It took us a couple months to get the licensing figured out," she said. "We really haven't had one incident with the neighbors, who have been very good. There would be one that would call the police about how our cars were parked in the front, but that was about it."

Wright can be reached by phone at 757-345-2343.

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