Residents in Mesa neighborhood fear group home opening

A neighborhood dispute is brewing in Mesa, as an organization is planning to turn one house into a group home for convicted felons.

Neighbors are saying no way to the home, but the man who wants to bring the home to the neighborhood says its happening.

The neighborhood is situated along a stretch of Pomeroy Street, near Downtown Mesa. Not too many homes are in the neighborhood, but it is a tight knit community, many of whom have been around for quite some time.

"The families lived here for decades," said a resident.

Recent news of potential new neighbors have shaken up the block.

"Its a shocker," said a resident. "Everybody in the neighborhood is shocked."

Michael Harris' organization has plans for a men's group home for convicted felons who have a history for substance use prior to incarceration. On Friday, Harris reacted to the seemingly unwelcoming message from neighbors.

"Its not surprising," said Harris, who went on to say there is one goal here.

"My men that are coming out are very committed to making a positive impact, and for lack of better term, they'll inadvertently police their own neighborhood," said Harris. "We don't want to draw a spotlight on ourselves. We want to blend in."

Neighbors took their concerns to Mesa's city council last week, hoping the city would interject. Currently, Mesa does not have ay ordnances in place regulating group homes, but with the dispute surfacing, the council plans to introduce one on Monday, which would pose requirements on sober living homes citywide.

As of now, the regulations would not apply to Harris' group home, as the occupancy would be under six people.

Neighbors are hoping this ordnance won't be final.

"Now it's just a wait and see, and hopefully, everything goes better than what we anticipate," said Anita Duncan, who lives in the area.

Mesa City Council plans to vote on the ordinance in two weeks.