HOLYOKE, MA  (WGGB/WSHM) -- A neighborhood in Holyoke is at odds over a mental health and drug treatment facility set to open on Yale Street in the Fall.

Homeowners expressing their opinions through a growing lawn sign campaign.

"Like.. a violation of our rights," Holyoke resident explained.

This Yale street homeowner didn't want to show his face on camera, but he's concerned about a 16-bed drug and mental health treatment facility opening so close to his house.

"To essentially force other people not only to accept it and embrace it but because were taxpayers here and they're a nonprofit, we are, in addition to losing property value on our homes are essentially being asked to also pay for it," Holyoke resident said. 

He told Western Mass News it's not because of who will be staying there.

"My son is a recovering addict so I'm the farthest thing from being against recovery," Holyoke resident explained. 

He's more upset at how Mental Health Association the non-profit running the center went about buying the property.

"The fact that it was kind of done in the dead of night in a sense," Holyoke resident noted. 

Though you see a lot of no signs in the neighborhood, especially on nearby Cleveland Street, other residents challenge that saying if not here, then where?

Maya Bachman, who supports the MHA facility explained her thoughts on the topic. 

"I do worry that there's a bit of somewhat of an elitist attitude towards keeping the neighborhood, keeping druggies out of the neighborhood," Bachman said. 

Kimberley Lee, who is MHA Vice President of Resource Development & Branding stated what this means for western Mass. 

"This will be the only housing of its kind in western Massachusetts," Lee said.  

Lee said the facility's guests will come from the LGBT community, but she said rather than a healthcare setting. 

"We are an organization that will be providing a residential space, services from the educational perspective," Lee said. 

Under Massachusetts' Dover Amendment a building with an educational purpose can be built in a neighborhood not traditionally zoned for one.

The "no" residents feel that amendment is too broad and is allowing MHA to put up a facility the neighborhood doesn't want, just because they can.

Lee said they weren't under any obligation to host a meet and greets and community meetings they did it because they wanted to.

"We want to be really good neighbors, we just really want to be good neighbors," Lee explained.

Copyright 2019 Western Mass News (Meredith Corporation).  All rights reserved.

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