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Methadone Clinic Still Plans to Move Despite Growing Opposition

Peekskill resident Wendy Kelly and others do not want a methadone clinic in their neighborhood but the Renaissance Project Chief Executive says there is no legal reason why it won’t happen.

Peekskill resident Wendy Kelly is adamantly opposed to the proposed methadone clinic in her neighborhood.  And she is not asking for the City Council’s help stopping, she is demanding it, backed by 675 petition signatures collected in the last six weeks.

“I demand the city prevent the  for 3 Corporate Drive,” Kelly told the council at the Aug. 13 meeting.

Safety, decreased property values in an already depressed economy and Peekskill’s image were the main concerns Kelly listed. Kelly has found support in hundreds of Peekskill and Cortlandt residents, including Peekskill Mayor Mary Foster and, most recently, Cortlandt Town Supervisor Linda Puglisi.  

But while Kelly fights to stop the proposal, the non-profit hoping to open the clinic, the Renaissance Project, is sticking to its plan, which has been in the works since 2008.

“We are trying to work with city,” said Renaissance Project CEO William Magwood. “We know there are people out there that are unhappy. But that is in itself not a reason to stop a project. You have to stop a project on legal merits.”

Magwood said he and his lawyers did their due diligence and worked with the city planning department to be sure the area was zoned for the clinic use when they first considered buying the property in 2008 and again before they closed on the property in 2010.

“We understand the concerns of the community and will work with them on an ongoing basis so their concerns don’t come to fruition. And if they do come to fruition, we will nip it in the bud,” Magwood said. Magwood said he purposely chose the industrial park so it would be out of the way and that he hopes the clinic can help the community.

 Residents are concerned that former drug addicts may be in “dire straits” and introduce a public safety risk. They are also concerned about having methadone patients in a neighborhood where children live and frequenting an area that includes a popular teen skating park,

Cortlandt Town Supervisor Linda Puglisi sent the Peekskill Planning Commission a letter on Aug. 13 opposing the methadone clinic on that site on behalf of her residents. Read the letter .

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“The proposed methadone clinic, while providing an important medical service, has the potential for adverse impacts to the surrounding neighborhood,” Puglisi wrote. The supervisor's concerns were over the impact on traffic and a clinic being "incompatible" with the other businesses in the industrial park.  

Mayor Mary Foster  the proposed location for the clinic. She says the area is not zoned for such a clinic and that it should stay on the Hudson Valley Hospital Center grounds, where it has been operating for thirty years. However, the Planning Commission decided that the 3 Corporate Drive area was appropriately zoned for the treatment center and granted the applicant, the Renaissance Project,in June. Since then, the mayor found a notification error in the process and voided that approval. The plans have been sent back to the Planning Commission and 

 “We have been having extensive conversations with staff and our attorney on what rights the council has to further analyze and dig in to this issue. Right now it is only in front of the planning commission,” Foster said.

Magwood said that because city staff and the Planning Commission has already confirmed that the area is properly zoned for the clinic, there is nothing legal the city can do to stop it.

Peekskill resident Tom Wahlman believes the clinic cannot legally be located at 3 Corporate Drive. At the Aug. 13 council meeting he told the council that land use lawyers with whom he has consulted have advised him corporate drive location is not zoned for the clinic.

“I don’t think the children, property and streets will be safe. You will have to get with Cortlandt Manor for a greater police force. I strongly recommend that you don’t allow this Renaissance methadone treatment in my neighborhood,” Walhman said.

 To read more about the Renaissance Projects plans, click here

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Peter Goodson August 17, 2012 at 12:22 PM
They have been working with the city since 2008!! Of course Foster and the council members knew about this. Zoning was discussed as well as other aspects of the proposal by the mayor and council. They got caught and now are trying to fool the public. Thanks to this very energized citizen group they have been nailed in their lies and will be held accountable. Looks like Foster & co. will cause another lawsuit against the city.
Mary Jane August 17, 2012 at 12:51 PM
Let's not discount or ignore the fact the Foster's political appointee, Ruth Wells, of the infamous Westside Neighborhood Association, sits on the Planning Board. And hubby Jim Knight, another political appointee, sits on the Zoning Board.
Peter Goodson August 17, 2012 at 01:13 PM
Good points MJ! In fact, the entire Planning and Zoning boards are Foster/Klaxton appointees. Foster was very closely involved with this issue for over 3 years now. Every single issue and decision made is solely from a polical perspective and involves the top of the dem political party. This particular issue was designed to help one of their major political campaign contributors sell his property and make money off of the citizens of Peekskill. People have been trying to point this out for years but most would not listen. Ironically, it took an issue such as a meth clinic to finally make the general public realize the mistake they made by electing these people.
Antoinette Wahlman August 17, 2012 at 02:05 PM
Mr. Magwood does not know what he is talking about. Check the City of Peekskill web site. There is no such zoning for anything resembling a medical facility at Corporate Drive and there is nothing related to it to support a variance!!! Evidently the Mayor Foster and the Planning Board does not have the best interests of the City of Peekskill or her neighbor, The Town of Cortlandt Manor. Foster is the ONLY elected official. Even Mr. Bill Magwood was appointed in 2010, two years after the 2008 date. See NY State web address, http://www.oasas.ny.gov/pio/press/CouncilAppointments.cfm Of course Cortlandt Manor is far more responsible having elected as opposed to appointed officials resembling justice better that the City of Peekskill and the Renaissance not for profit profitable paid for by NY State crew. Let them put this astronomically detrimental project be put where there is security, not with our children, businesses and residential property. We would not put it in Mayor Fosters' or Magwoods kid’s backyard but these grossly deceived characters want to destroy everything these neighborhoods have labored for at our own expense. Much like Jim Crow law, get robbed by appointees!!!
leeny joe August 17, 2012 at 02:11 PM
I feel that there is so much ignorance being displayed by people, a methadone clinic is a state leagalized program so that people can work and function as productive members in society, they are not actively using drugs, that why its call a maintenance program. People on the clinic are business owners, doctors, yes doctors, lawyers and even some law enforcement people. So lets get with showing the facts of how having a program has saved people in there own neighborhood of commiting a crime, stop judging others, if any person can honestly say they dont drink a glass of wine with dinner or a beer, they to are suffering from and addiction as well as people who smoke cigarettes, an addiction is an addiction. There are more dwi in these towns and havent in at least 10 years heard of an accident due to being on a perscription perscribed by a doctor which also brings me to the point of how many of you so called NORMAL people take a pain medicine perscribed by your doctor. WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE LEARN WHAT THIS PROGRAM IS ABOUT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Patty Villanova August 17, 2012 at 02:14 PM
The proceedings of both the Planning and Zoning boards are public records. As are all the decisions that are made by either body. Has anybody filed a FOIL request to see how Ruth and Jim voted on the motions?
robert pidgeon August 17, 2012 at 03:57 PM
funny how no one is going after miller for selling property to a medical group without it being zoned for such. oh yea thats b/c he gives too much money to foster.
leeny joe August 17, 2012 at 05:45 PM
out of the 650 signatures against the methadone program, how many of them drink smoke or take prescribed meds! because the people on a program are maintaining and the 650 are all in denial and IGNORANT!!!!!!! why is no one responding to my comment guess they are addicts (closet ones
leesther brown August 17, 2012 at 06:28 PM
I just left a Going Home service for a gentleman(52) that utilized this program and talked with many in attendance that use this program and have for in some instances 20 yrs or better,and they have some pretty horrific stories about this not so wonder drug disguised to prevent heroin(not true) use and from speaking with them they are saying he biggest hurdle they now have is getting off of this drug that has hurt them more than helped(medical issues directly from this drug),also I have more signatures that think the program should be administered at the Hospital.Nobody wants to stop you from getting your legal fix),that will cut your life span) we just don't want our children seeing you come through the hood to get it...We got enough trying to prevent them from using drugs that will eventually lead them to a program like this....#spareus..
leesther brown August 17, 2012 at 06:35 PM
Jim Knight and Ruth Wells have no business on either of these Boards to begin with.
Theresa Gucciardo-Perry August 17, 2012 at 09:43 PM
Peekskill is a so drug infested, why put a bandaid on the drug problem, try AA or NA, give me a break, using a drug to stop a drug, go to church, go to a rehab in the desert, get away from our kids!
Bren ONeal August 18, 2012 at 11:37 PM
More and more addicts are turning to Suboxone b/c it is safer and not nearly as addictive or dangerous as Methadone.Never should other alternatives be ruled out either. Methadone deaths continue to skyrocket all across the USA and now into other countries.Please visit www.stopmethadonedeaths.com sign the petition and share your story.
carla August 19, 2012 at 02:08 AM
Why doesn't Renaissance Project CEO William Magwood move it into his neighborhood!!
Mora DH August 20, 2012 at 01:41 AM
The methadone clinic in Peekskill has resided for 30+ years on the grounds of HVHC and is not "breaking even". The hospital no longer wants it using up space. Plain and simple the not for profit in question has NEVER operated a methadone clinic. Given the site in question is within 250 ft. of Town of Cortlandt land and were not notified of said proposal the zoning go ahead holds no credence. Furthermore, there is no where near the accessibility to the site via public transportation as there is to HVHC. It will be interesting to see the final outcome.
Wendy Kelly August 21, 2012 at 01:18 PM
The Methadone Clinic should remain at HVHC where it has been for up to 30 plus years. Appears that Miller, Foster and Federspiel brokered this whole deal in silence. I told Mary there were moles in City Hall. Now we have to engage the services of a professional to determine that 3 Corporate Dive is not zoned for narcotic distribution. Call Miller 914-737-1500;HVHC 914-737-9000 and City of Peekskill 914-737-3400 with your comments. I remember Phil back then. Do you remember?? http://www.nytimes.com/2007/11/04/nyregion/nyregionspecial2/04peekskillwe.html
Wendy Kelly August 21, 2012 at 01:40 PM
Bren ONeal thank you for posting that fabulous site.
Wendy Kelly August 21, 2012 at 01:59 PM
Patti I have a request in for answer to your question. Yes, I have filled out FOIL application.
Willie Bobo August 21, 2012 at 02:21 PM
If any junked-up, horseriding smackhead tries to bust a move on me, they's gonna be entering a world of pain. Mark it, dude.
robert pidgeon August 21, 2012 at 03:24 PM
very interesting
Wendy Kelly August 21, 2012 at 05:43 PM
Once again Bren I suggest everyone visit this site.
Wendy Kelly August 27, 2012 at 01:48 PM
http://stopmethadonedeaths.com/ Excellent site!!!!
Thea stowe October 09, 2013 at 12:53 PM
I would like to make people understand that if this clinic isn't put into place here in Peekskill, that it will be more of a problem, reason being is that the Peekskill residents that take methadone will be transferred and have been to White Plains, Yonkers and New Rochelle clinics, until the new clinic in THEIR community has been established, and most of them do not have transportation to get that far everyday. So they miss their daily done, and you know what happens then, they turn to Heroin, WHICH RESULTS IN MORE CRIME, AND MORE DEATHS IN yours and their neighborhood. People need to stop and think of the long term effects that not approving the clinic in Peekskill will do.. There are Young women, and men that belong to that clinic, and YOU can explain to their parents, that you Wendy Kelly and the other 675 people that opposed the clinic why you felt the need to do that when they are burying their children, or visiting them in jail when you selfishly took their help away. Methadone is a medication that when taken as prescribed helps addicts function and help themselves with their problems. Methadone is only lethal when taken with other drugs such as benzodiazepines. So please before you start getting petitions and running to the city of Peekskill board, do your research.. In the city and town of Peekskill and towns around the area, there are 100's of people that are addicts, looking for help, that you are Denying......
Thea stowe October 09, 2013 at 12:54 PM
Wendy, also if you look into it carefully, park drive is Zoned for medically use,,, look it up

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