Panama City residents voice concerns about sober living house moving into neighborhood

Panama City

PANAMA CITY Fla. (WMBB) — Last week News 13 first reported about a sober living home opening in a Panama City neighborhood, and the outrage it’s causing among citizens who live nearby.

At Tuesday’s City Commission meeting, those residents made their concerns heard.

Oxford Houses exist across the nation, but the residents like Hellen Longo who lives on West Eighth Street in Panama City, believes this location will not work.

“We need help for these individuals but not when we have little children on Eighth Street,” Longo said.

According to the Oxford House website, this sober living home can house up to nine women recovering from addiction and their children.

Residents said they believe these women deserve a place to recover but have concerns about this happening in a single family home neighborhood. 

“We share a backyard with them, is that going to become a parking lot,” resident Bob Carter said.

Both the residents and city officials just found out about this last week. Mayor Greg Brudnicki said protecting the citizens remains the top priority. 

“That is the most important job that we have as leaders running the city is the safety and security of our citizens,” Brudnicki said.

City officials say they are examining whether or not there are code violations or other potential problems. 

“It is all about making sure it is compatible with everything else that is there,” Brudnicki said. “You’ve got dozens and dozens of homes that were already there for people living.”

 News 13 reached out to the Oxford House for a third time and have not gotten a response.

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