Family wins battle to make home handicap accessible for daughter after neighbors complain

WHITMAN, MASS. (WHDH) - A Whitman family has won a battle to make their home handicap accessible to accommodate their 4-year-old daughter’s rare health condition after neighbors complained to the town, claiming an addition would drive down property value in the area.

Shelby Feeney suffers from CHARGE syndrome, an extremely complex genetic syndrome, involving extensive medical and physical difficulties, her family told 7News. She struggles to hear, has “very low” vision, cannot walk on her own and has already had two open-heart surgeries.

“Even though she has all these challenges, it doesn’t stop her from loving and being loving and just being awesome,” Nicole Feeney said of her daughter.

Photo Credit: Feeney family

The Feeney family was approved for a building permit in January to add a wheelchair ramp, along with a handicap bathroom and bedroom for Shelby. Neighbors complained in March because they did not like how the addition “hung” over their homes, the family said.

At a meeting Monday night to affirm the permit, the Feeney family’s attorney announced the complaint had been dropped, bringing an end to the trying saga.

Residents at the meeting passed out “#ImwithShelby” flyers to show support for Shelby and her family. A crowd erupted with cheers when officials said the work could go on as planned.

“To know that we can go through with this and finish the project just means a lot,” Feeney said.