Lehigh Valley

Mother makes emotional plea at Palmer Twp. zoning hearing

Group home at center of controversy.

PALMER TOWNSHIP, Pa. - Neighbors in one Palmer Township neighborhood say they didn’t know what type of business was operating out of a home on 10 Millbrook Court but that increased traffic and a scary incident had them concerned.

Manuchka Decamp, owner of Heart to Heart, LLC, says she is licensed by the state to operate a group home at the location that serves people with mental illness.

Decamp is approved to have four residents plus staff at the home but currently is only caring for two female teens diagnosed with autism.

Neighbors say one of the teens had an incident outside of the home that scared a neighborhood child.

That incident, coupled with the increased traffic, worried neighbors about what type of business was operating next to them, which they partly blame on a lack of communication.

The group also worried about home values.

“The only people making money are the landowner who is collecting the rent, the business that is running the business, and everybody else will take a hit if somebody is looking at a property,” added one resident.

However, a mother of one of the teen’s staying at the home urged the zoning board to approve the change.

“The toughest decision I’ve had to make in my life is that I cannot provide 24 hour care for my daughter. I hope none of you people in this room ever suffer through watching a child with mental illness,” added Sarah McKinnon.

In the end, the zoning board approved use for the property and granted the occupancy permit.

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