Hoke County community raise concerns over second group home coming to neighborhood

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One group home in this neighborhood is enough, residents say.

Residents living in Raeford's Woodberry community aren't in favor of a second group home opening its doors in their neighborhood. In fact, they're speaking out and hoping a family moves in instead.

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"It's a quiet neighborhood. No problems," said Gene Shellnut, a resident living there. "It's middle-class and predominantly government employed."

He's lived in the community for more than 20 years and has had few complaints until now.

His next-door neighbor sold his home a few months back. What frustrated Shellnut most was that the new homeowner had plans of making the house a group home. It's a problem for him because there's already a group home on the other side of his house.

"I actually caught an individual crawling up my sidewalk," Shellnut said.

It's strange behavior he's noticed from those living there. In fact, it's behavior that residents say they won't stand for again.

"You don't know how people are in this day and age, you know? If they approach my children, they might go up to them thinking it's a happy neighbor," said Chris Sellers, a resident who has lived in Woodberry for more than 20 years. "It could be somebody that's willing to grab my child and hurt them or something."

Another resident is worried the new neighbors might sink property values.

"When people come into the neighborhood and realize we have two group homes within 25 feet of each other, it's going to make it less appealing to buy in our neighborhood," said Candi Quigley.

Hoke County's zoning code says a family-care home can't be within one-half mile of the other. Residents say this new group home would violate those rules.

"Find another neighborhood. There's some that don't have any," Shellnut said.

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