Columbia, SC (WLTX) - Two weeks ago, a Florida developer received approval to build a federal halfway house for non violent offenders on Calhoun street and it has most neighbors and business owners upset.
It sits less than five feet from Capital City printing and they say no one even alerted them about their potential new neighbors.
"We were concerned immediately because we have had numerous problems on Calhoun street with the homeless problem and with various things going on at transitions down the street," said Paul Cormier.
Paul and his wife Pauline have owned Capital City Printing for several years and say the homeless problem has brought crime to Calhoun Street.
Now, they are dealing with the fact that their new neighbors may be convicted felons.
"Here we go again. We have homeless people walking the streets and we have felons next door, its not going to help our business that's for sure."
The Florida Developer received Special Zoning Approval to build a 46 bed re-entry center that's run by the US justice department. The dormitory style building will house only non violent offenders.
The developer was supposed to notify nearby businesses and neighborhood associations but neighbors say that did not happen. Cormier says this will hurt business.
"The perception of them having to come to a location where there are felons right next door to us is very difficult for us to fathom."
"Every time another institution like this goes into place, it doesn't help our position," said Ted Deary.
Deary is a business owner and lives in the Robert Mills District near the property. He is concerned that the Alston Wilkes Society already houses felons on Bull Street and should simply have their contract renewed.
He is says moving the felons closer to an already problem area is not a good decision.
"It's mainly professionals that go home at night and because of that the police don't as heavy as they could and we have a lot of small problems that are stemming from the homelessness and we don't need to add to that," said Deary.
We made several attempts to contact the developer and their attorney and no one answered our calls.