The start of construction of an addiction-recovery halfway house on a one-acre plot in a rural Erath County neighborhood has residents in and around County Road 180 worried and a petition drive has been started against it.

According to the landowner and local attorney, Landon Northcutt, the facility is to be called Hope House Stephenville. There is also a companion facility, Hope House Hamilton, that is owned and operated by Living Hope Outreach. Northcutt said the group is a Christian ministry and operates as a 503c religious non-profit corporation.

Our home is [to be] approximately 2,000 square feet, he said. We plan on starting with three residences and the completion date we are shooting for is February 1, 2015.

The E-T recently met with nearby homeowners about the project at the home of M.J. and Sandra Lee.

I was told by the preacher [Pastor Ed Chapman] over there that it was going to be a home for 12 to 15 men, M.J. said.

I dont want it here. Im not against the drug places; I think we need them, Sandra said. But I dont want it in front of my house. And if this can happen right here to us, it can happen to anybody that lives out in the country.

Neighbor Freddie Yasinosky added, Its only one acre. Its going to be a pretty crowded-up area with 12 to 15 or so men living there, plus whoever is going to oversee them. That doesnt leave them much area for recreation or anything else. Theyre going to be walking up and down the road in our neighborhood and we wont even know who they are.

Northcutt said in a statement that there has also been positive feedback.

We are so grateful for the outpouring of support we have received from the community, including individuals and churches from our area, he said.

Commissioner Joe Brown said he has met with some of the concerned residents and explained that his ability to affect the project is limited by Erath County and state law.

I understand their concerns, Brown said. But people not wanting something doesnt mean I can go out there and say he cant do it. Im not the police. Im the county commissioner.

Calls to Living Hope Outreach ministry had not been returned at the time this article is being written.