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Methadone Clinic Back to the Planning Board

A review of planning board process following public outcry revealed the clinic applicant did not follow notification requirements, according to the mayor.

Peekskill residents are mobilizing to launch a full-fledged fight against the on Corporate Drive on the border of Peekskill and Cortlandt.

In June, the Peekskill Planning Commission gave final site plan approval to the Renaissance Project, a proposed methadone clinic that would service about 250 patients a day. The Renaissance Project would combine the  current methadone maintenance center and the Renaissance Project's outpatient therapy program currently run out of Peekskill's , into the one location.

Since the plan was approved, residents concerned over the effect of the proposed clinic on safety, property values and Peekskill's image said they were never informed of the clinic and have started a petition against it. They have also held conversations with city officials about how they can keep it out of their neighborhood. To investigate the matter, the Council asked staff to compile a file with information on the zoning, planning board process and notifications associated with this project.

“This is not something that can belong in this community. There are hundreds of homes and children,” Sprout Brook Road resident Netty Wahlman told the Council at the July 16 Council meeting.

 “No one we’ve spoken to wants this. They are shocked,” said her husband Tom Wahlman.

Last week, city staff discovered the Renaissance Project did not properly notify the Cortlandt neighbors within 250 feet of the proposed site of a Feb. 15 public hearing and had only properly notified its Peekskill neighbors, Mayor Mary Foster said. Once that was discovered, city staff sent the organization a letter stating that all actions following the February public hearing are now “null and void,” Foster said; meaning the Planning Board approval has been rescinded.

Foster said that the Council is also “upset” over the proposed methadone clinic and the fact they were not told about it.

“I understand you being upset, we are also upset,” Foster told the Wahlmans. She later clarified to Patch that the council was "upset" over not being a part of the discussion.

 “You just need to be aware that we sitting here did not give any permissions, approvals or grant any authority for this,” Foster said at the Council meeting. “It was deemed to be purely a planning commission action...We are likewise concerned what the impacts would be moving the methadone clinic from the hospital down on to Corporate Drive. That worries us all and we are looking into that.”

Foster said the Renaissance Project bought the Corporate Drive property in 2010 from Phil Miller. She had known Renaissance was looking to relocate, but was unaware it would also be taking over the Hudson Valley Hospital Center’s drug administration operation.

“We had no idea the Renaissance Project was expanding and opening a methadone clinic,” the mayor said.

 She also said that the industrial park is not properly zoned for such an operation.

“Right now it is not a permitted use at Corporate Drive,” Foster said. “We don’t have a defined use called a medical office.” The city has business office or ambulatory healthcare facility defined uses, but the clinic does not fit either one, or any others, she explained.

 Corporate Drive is located in an industrial district that adjoins the Town of Cortlandt. The Cortlandt Colonial Diner is located across a small stream, 2nd Nature Skate Park and several industrial businesses are the closest establishments to the proposed clinic location. Peekskill Housing Authority development Dunbar Heights also abuts the property.

The clinic would take over drug administration services that have been performed at the Hudson Valley Hospital Center since 1979 and are funded by the New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS).

 “Despite the great quality of the service as demonstrated by third party surveyors such as the Joint Commission, Department of Health and OASAS, the clinic has not been profitable for ten years since governmental changes reduced reimbursement,” the Hudson Valley Hospital Center wrote in a press release. “The hospital did request enhanced funds to continue to operate the program but was denied.”

Westchester County officials recommended the Renaissance Project to the hospital as an organization with which to partner several years ago, said HVHC's William Dauster, Vice President of Marketing and the Foundation.

 “We never had any problems with the clinic, which is very highly regulated,” Dauster said. But the decreased funding is now causing the hospital to loose money, he said.

 Foster believes that the methadone clinic should stay on the hospital grounds, even if Renaissance does take it over, she said. “It is the chronicness of treatment…it needs to be sited in a location conducive to medical use and not in a half vacant industrial park,” Foster said.

William Magwood, CEO of the Renaissance Project, was not available for comment when Patch called Friday evening. 

To read about Magwood's plans for the new clinic click . 

FYI July 24, 2012 at 12:48 AM
Just another example of how this apathetic mayor and this rubber stamping council is completely unaware of what goes on in "their" City. You would think, for example, that when there is a meeting scheduled---Planning or Zoning, e.g., the mayor and her minions would express some interest in taking a look at what was on the docket for that evening. Just to be kept in the loop, to be on the same page as her subordinates. Anyone watching the planning meetings for this project could put the puzzle pieces together as to what was going on. Despite the attempts by the Planning Committee and the Renaissance team to avoid using the word, "Methadone" at each appearance. Perhaps the mayor's head is so full of her vanity firehouse project, she hasn't the time or interest in anything else. Least of all, the well-being and quality of life of her constituents and their families.
Mary Jane July 24, 2012 at 01:03 AM
FYI you are so off the mark. Mayor Foster is the biggest micro-manager, not to mention snoop in the loop, there is. She knows exactly what's going on. This is exactly what happens when an apathetic city allows her to do as she wishes. This apathetic city has given her carte blanche because no one has the time or interest to get off their butts and hold this bird's feet to the fire.
Evan Liaskos July 24, 2012 at 01:57 AM
As the owner of a business right next to this proposed location (Cortlandt Colonial Restaurant & Ballroom), I am making it known to everyone that I had NEVER received notification of this, and my property BORDERS that property. My family has owned and operated this business in this location for 32 years and for this to be shoved down our throats is just not right. Putting something like this in that location makes no sense at all. With all the businesses in the immediate area, a skate park across the street, and a lack of public transportation why does this location make sense to anyone? Also has anyone looked into the reputation of the renaissance project's other locations . I have an ex-parole officer who works here and has told me that she has personally seen that this organization is not operated "with the highest of standards". If the hospital can not operate their meth clinic profitably, what corners is the renaissance project cutting to make it profitable for them. Is it in cleanliness, security, or the quality of staff and is this what any neighborhood with hard working businesses and homes should have next to them?????
Patty Villanova July 24, 2012 at 02:40 AM
Like everything else in Peekskill- follow the money trail.
George in NY July 24, 2012 at 11:20 AM
Not enough drug addicts in Peekskill, REVITALIZE Peekskill, bring in more. Does this City EVER do anything good for the City?
jo July 24, 2012 at 11:38 AM
Fish stinks from the top down... and its proved over and over...
Peekskill80 July 25, 2012 at 12:10 AM
I'm a nurse and I work on the rehab unit..trust me you do not want a methadone clinic anywhere near children or heavy traffic areas..methadone is just like having the heroin in your system, it can stabilize you..and when it wears off, they become very agitated while going thru withdrawal symptoms..an also they would need psychological help while they are going thru treatment and thats why a hospital setting is better
Walden Macnair July 25, 2012 at 12:38 AM
If Hudson Valley Hospital thinks this is such a good idea, why don't they put it next door the the the Chairman's house in Putnam Valley. Come on Ed, there's nothing to worry about.
sharkattack666 July 26, 2012 at 09:59 PM
Michael Villanove the owner of several taxi companies throughout westchester and rockland was found in possesion of methadone with no script,how did your family deal with this situation,it's a shame he's such a piece of garbage that man.
sharkattack666 July 26, 2012 at 10:08 PM
While the Nation is in a recession,why don't we just cancel medicaid paying for a free get high?oh no the poor junkies now they will go back to dope....do you really believe they stop?????
Wendy Kelly July 27, 2012 at 01:59 PM
Evan thanks for your comments. Please get in touch with me asap. Now we need to hear from Dr. Berk. Come on Dr. Berk you signed petition let us know how this project will impact your business , safety of your customers and employees leaving there cars in dark winter months. I would be worried they would break in for drugs too.
Wendy Kelly July 27, 2012 at 02:54 PM
Sharkattack 666 I have been told by 6 people 2 being cops they never wean them from Meth. It is a business for Renaissance they are a non profit also pay no taxes. Just what we need Mary and staff. Director of Alcohol and Substance Abuse West County Health , lovely Delia Austin 914-995-5010 says 60% have their own vehicles. My question is so they are taking a drugs and driving? Does this make sense public/Peekskill Police Dept/ State Police?
Wendy Kelly July 27, 2012 at 03:08 PM
http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/peekskill-ny-and-surrounding-areas-oppose/ Copy link onto your internet browser and sign petition online. Spread the word we have to oppose in force and number. Help us get Meth Clinic out of Peekskill and Phil Miller along with it.
W Kelly July 28, 2012 at 05:26 PM
Let me know if you would like flyers in opposition to The Meth Clinic coming to Peekskill to distribute to friends as a hard copy or via e-mail. w.kelly1@verizon.net I suggested we print out and post in our cars as a means to get the word out all over and was surprised that many liked the idea. Let me know I can print for pu at a central location
millie August 01, 2012 at 10:51 PM
i am one of those so called people, i am a good person, well respected and i've earned it. i haven't touched anything in many years and there are many more like me at the clinic and as for the agitation, are you aware of how long it takes before that happens or maybe they're not on the right dose that can maintain them until the next day or they're in need of other meds cause its a daily medication. you're a nurse and the way you put your point across doesn't sound professional. i know a nurse that respects the patients and speaks out for them when she has too and not put them all on the same boat and lets them sink. not fair.. but most wont ever see that.
Patty Villanova August 01, 2012 at 11:14 PM
Responding to "millie": this dispute is not about you or your addiction. It's about the rights of taxpayers who will have to live near this facility, whether they like it or not. These residents did not vote to have the clinic in their neighborhood. They were tricked by elected and appointed politicians who care for nothing but lining their own pockets. Poor unfortunates like yourself are being used to make everyone feel guilty instead of outraged at the injustice that's being perpetrated. I don't know if you have ever owned property around here and had to pay the highest taxes in the USA. It certainly does give one a different perspective. You talk about respect for the patients. What about respect for the neighbors who clearly don't want a methadone clinic in their back yard? Aren't they entitled to some consideration too?
Kirsten Berger August 12, 2012 at 03:12 PM
I think the Cityhas been using the tattoo parlor zoning issue as a foil to draw attention away from the methadone clinic. Make a big deal out of something that isn't a big deal at all and then you can hide what is the big deal, namely this methadone clinic. I don't want this in Peekskill. It's just tax-payer funded enabling of drug addiction. There is no incentive to get methadone patients off methadone. I would support something that would also help them get off methadone, but true drug rehab takes time and is costly and I can't see Renaissance (or anything corporate) wanting to do that. However, anything like that should be by the hosptital...it's a much more secure location and closer to medical care.
FYI August 12, 2012 at 05:26 PM
Don't fool yourselves. This isn't about anything than Rennaissance making $$$$. If it wasn't so successful, they wouldn't have a chain of clinics. Here's your future, Peekskill: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yg0OInSkxXg
Walden Macnair August 12, 2012 at 06:37 PM
Wendy, You're correct there is no weaning from Methadone. In fact if you visit the methadone clinics in New York City you will see people coming out and selling their methadone to addicts so that they can use the money to buy heroine. Yeah I know they're suppose to swallow it in front of the tech. They're suppose to do a lot of things.
Wendy Kelly August 13, 2012 at 10:44 PM
Thanks everyone for your valid comments. See you tonight City Hall 2nd Floor 7:30 pm.
Josh Sebert September 20, 2012 at 04:29 PM
I am a former addict and now an administrator of a methadone clinic In West Virginia. Some of you are making valid complaints about not being notified but I am mostly seeing ignorant prejudice statements on here. The people that go to these clinics are good people doing the right thing. They are not on other drugs or they would be kicked out. Most have jobs, pay taxes and own homes. These are people with a disease trying to get better. The clinic I run served 400 patients daily and we have no issues with crime or "drug dealers" being attracted to the area. The people that come here are children, parents, grandparents, doctors, lawyers and even police. This is a service that helps clean up areas and stop crime, not create it. Some of you should be ashamed of yourself and should know better than to judge people and make statements on subjects that you only assume to have knowledge of.
Wendy Kelly September 20, 2012 at 05:16 PM
Mr.Sebert congratulations on your sobriety! Go to www.stopmeathadonedeaths.com and then lets talk. You said it yourself "trying to get better." Each and everyone of us have had plenty of experience with people's addictions how dare you assume we are ignorant, we are just the contrary. You obviously haven't followed this situation at all. What we are asking is that the Methadone Clinic remain at Hudson Valley Hospital Center where it will remain in a controlled environment with appropriate emergency medical services. How about you call John Federspiel, President of HVHC and ask him why he is banishing such a fine facility from his newly improved hospital Tel # 914-737-9000. His attitude is certainly counter to the hospital's mission statement, which says "Hudson Valley Hospital Center is dedicated to serving the healthcare needs of the community and providing quality comprehensive medical care in a compassionate, professional, respectful manner, without regard to race, religion, national origin or disease category." He will tell you the hospital is losing 200K a year housing the clinic at his facility, which is a drop in the bucket to the huge sums they receive from their other services.
Praetell Boch September 20, 2012 at 05:19 PM
Well said. All you anti-methadone people are hypocrites and pharisees. Everybody is an addict. We're all addicted to something, be it drugs, alcohol, gambling, bocce, whoring, caffeine, golf, porn, the Internet, oxygen, spuds, Vitamin C, soap, etc. I despise the dishonest way you pose yourselves. Jesus himself hung out with a loose cabal of dope fiends, pipers, smokeheads and gutmonkeys. The Man himself would have welcomed people to the meth clinic. NEW PANDA BORN AT NATIONAL ZOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Tian-Tian - bamboo addict
Walden Macnair September 20, 2012 at 05:25 PM
Josh, I don't know about conditions in West Virginia or for that matter about your new life of sobriety. Having said that, let me add that you know nothing of us as a group or as individuals and your comments about being ignorant are not welcomed here. I have had experience with these wonderful methadone clinics and can tell you first hand that I've seen an increase in drugs and street crime every time one is opened. I've seen the patients sell their methadone so they can buy heroin and yes I know that they're supposed to take it in front of the healthcare worker but I also know that some of them don't. The area that they want to put this clinic in isn't appropriate for a host of reasons and considering you're living in West Virginia, I don't think your qualified to discuss this intelligently.
leesther brown September 20, 2012 at 05:45 PM
The Problem is Josh they're trying to put in close proximity of an already crime plagued Housing Complex filled with children...There will be some that will be tempted to obtain this not so wonderful "retardant" for commerce without morality and that's real! Until the City can guarantee the Safety and Security of the Community as a whole. This clinic that will house a drug that indeed has a black market demand will only open a whole new can of worms.No one I don't think is denying the help and comfort that this junk provides (Oh and there are some that use other drugs while using Methadone), but let it be administered in a Hospital setting, or some other venue but not below an already crime ridden/drug infested community....
Patty Villanova September 20, 2012 at 09:12 PM
Once again we have Big Government trampling on the property and civil rights of a community, only this time it's not the Feds in DC, it's much closer to home. Do any of the do-gooders who are demanding that this unwanted facility be sited here even own property or pay taxes? Let alone some of the highest taxes in the USA. Don't the residents and taxpayers have an inalienable right to just say NO, we don't want a meth clinic in our neighborhood? This isn't about the poor drug addicts who are either trying to get help or who've been forced into rehab by court order. It's about the rights of property owners to decide where they want to live and who they want in their neighborhood. As far as I know, the Constitution is still the law of the land, even in Peekskill. (though most of the time you'd never know it)
Wendy Kelly September 21, 2012 at 03:15 PM
Thank you all for you continued support during this long process. I hope Peekskill Planning Commission will realize the negative impact this will have on Peekskill and the many surrounding communities. Please view link that FYI Posted From all of us- Positive Directions for Peekskill Team
Warwick Deeping, Borzoi September 21, 2012 at 04:45 PM
Ashbel Green, legendary Borzoi, is dead. He mentored me on my work and I am forever grateful. R.I.P. Ash - you were a great man, a great dawg and a great editor. Avanti!
FYI September 24, 2012 at 02:25 PM
and a few more. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SM5aGh8Svww https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bDU8VCAiOw8&feature=related https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SwbaMbjwHfA&feature=related https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wb7mAvgPz_4&feature=related https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yo7w6cClEZw
babygirl4912 February 24, 2013 at 12:58 PM
Cant wait to see all the signatures on the petition all in FAVOR of the methadone clinic you all will be surprised! And ALL THE CALL MISS MAYOR MARY FOSTER IS GOING TO RECEIVE AND YES FLYERS SOUND Great thx for all the ideas that we will go ahead and make happen for ALL WHO R IN FAVOR OF OPENING THE NEW METHADONE CLINIC.....CANT WAIT TO GET STARTED ITS GONNA PIT SO MUCH PRESSURES ON THE PEEKSKILL BOARD THEY WILL HAVE NO CHOICE BUT TO OPEN UP THE NEW ONE ALL 500 of us methadone"patients" will get the point across!

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