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[UPDATE]Peekskill Planning Officials Approve Methadone Clinic Site Plan

The Peekskill Planning Commission gave site plan approval to the Renaissance Project during Wednesday night's meeting.

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.

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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. 

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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.

Liz Claire October 11, 2012 at 12:46 PM
Why should the Hospital should be FORCED to run a program at a $200,000 annual loss? Any medical help can be referred to as needed for people who can pay. Better yet, why not run their administrative offices out of CHOP, then have their agents/case workers act as Fullerbrush salesman and visit their clients in their homes. It would be more discreet for all. Everyone wins. There are counseling services in Ossining to which they can be referred.. .
sayitsnotsojack October 11, 2012 at 01:39 PM
As usual this is about money the hospital says it wants out because they lose $200,000 a year but Renaissance Project wants in. Now who in their right mind would want in unless they were going to make money? Where this money comes from is the question, are they being paid by the state, federal or some other? No one does these things to lose money, so once again follow the money.
Liz Claire October 11, 2012 at 11:32 PM
The Zoning Board is lying when it says its hands are tied in having to allow the Renaissance Project to locate on Corporate Drive. That is a private building. By that logic they could force the Kurzhals Building to host it, or Park Mall, or any empty building in the Downtown --- why not the Paramount? Better yet, why not public buildings? The middle school has a community center. The methadone clients would come and go before the kiddies get to school, so say its fans. Or why not the neighborhood center? Keep it used all the time. Or what about the Cove? Didn't they get some Federal money?
Branwen MacDonald October 12, 2012 at 03:34 PM
This is a pretty condescending comment - do you live here in Peekskill? We aren't a well-established, wealthy, "manicured" community - we're a muliti-racial, low-income, fixed-income, blue collar and middle class community that already offers a lot of public housing, homeless assistance, elderly assistance, youth programs, food pantries, a free health clinic and a host of other social services. I think most of us don't want the clinic here because we are struggling to maintain a balance between providing services to those in need and maintaining a vibrant middle-class here in the city. We need to do both, and we are already doing more than our fair share in the social services department. Why not spread these around Westchester? Why not a methadone clinic in Pleasantville? It is too easy for an already vulnerable community to become a dumping ground for any and every service - we need someone else to pick up the slack in this instance. You may feel it will have no effect but you may not be aware of the burdens our community already shoulders. Even if the net effect is only one of perception (and I don't agree that that is all it will be), that is more than we can handle at this time. Everything has a tipping point and this could tip the scales too far for Peekskill.
Henri grimm February 19, 2013 at 02:38 PM
Keep in mind, these people are patients not criminals. Maybe we should get rid of the department stores, deli"s,libraries public bathrooms ect...that they frequent. They are not lepers. Be carefull what you wish.

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