UPDATE, 10:15 p.m.:The Peekskill Planning Commission gave site plan approval to The Renaissance Project's methadone clinic proposal.
Planning Commission Chairman Dwight Douglas acknowledged the letter submitted by the Common Council's attorney. But Douglas said the board had already made the determination that the clinic was in line with the zoning requirements on Corporate Drive.
Douglas said very little changed since June, when planning commission approved the site plan the first time.
Check back for more in tomorrow's Patch.
UPDATE, 3 p.m.: Attached is a letter submitted to the Peekskill Planning Commission by Cortlandt town Supervisor on Oct. 4. Additional correspondence can be found here and here.
The Peekskill Common Council has called on the planning commission to reject the site plan for a methadone clinic on 3 Corporate Drive.
Robert Spolzino, a lawyer retained by the Common Council last month, sent a letter to the Planning Commission Monday urging it to reject The Renaissance Project’s proposal for an outpatient treatment center and methadone clinic. The planning commission is scheduled to discuss the clinic during tonight’s regularly scheduled meeting.
The project would combine the Hudson Valley Hospital Center’s current methadone maintenance center and the Renaissance Project's outpatient therapy program, which currently runs out of Peekskill's Jan Peek House, into the one location.
Spolzino said the the project is incompatible with the current zoning at the proposed site. Although the zoning allows for professional offices, Spolzino said the scope and usage for the proposed clinic doesn’t fit the city’s definition of a professional office.
“The fact that the facility is currently housed at a hospital is not insignificant,” the letter states. “It proves that the facility, which will accommodate as many as 275 patients plus the attendant staff, is not just an office. It is clearly something that, solely by virtue of its scale, cannot be considered an as that term was intended in the zoning law.”
If approved, the facility could have as many as 275 clients, but those of clients wouldn’t all be in the facility at the same time, according to Jeremy Doxsee, a planner for the city. The counseling would take place 6 a.m to 11 a.m., with administrative work taking place in the afternoon.
The Planning Commission initially approved the site plan in June, but Peekskill Mayor Mary Foster voided the plan because city planning officials failed to notify the Town of Cortlandt of proposal. Officials are required to notify the the because the proposal is within 500 feet of the Cortlandt border.
Because of this oversight, the commission was required to reopen the public hearing.
Residents in Peekskill and Cortlandt Manor have complained about the project, citing health, traffic and safety risks.
Peekskill Mayor Mary Foster said the Common Council hired its own law firm because it did not agree with the Planning Commission’s earlier decision.
“The City's Corporation Counsel in-house lawyer provides staff support and advice to the Planning Commission,” Foster said. “The Common Council engaged our own attorney, an external firm, to advise us on our legal standing with respect to the decisions rendered by the Planning Commission that we believe, legislatively, are inconsistent with our zoning code.”
A copy of Spolzino’s letter and the agenda for tonight’s planning commission meeting are attached to this story. The Planning Commission is scheduled to begin 7:30 p.m. inside city hall.