Four months is a long time.
But it wasn't long enough for the Peekskill Planning Commission to change its mind regarding The Renaissance Project’s proposal for a methadone clinic on 3 Corporate Dr. The planning commission reaffirmed the decision it made in June and approved the project’s site plan during Wednesday night’s meeting.
Planning Commission Chairman Dwight Douglas acknowledged all of the petitions, comments and correspondence that the commission received in opposition to the application prior to the commission's vote.
“We were able to review all of the correspondence that we received...and could find no compelling new evidence to change our original decision,” Douglas said.
The Renaissance Project proposes to combine the outpatient therapy program it currently runs at the Jan Peek House with Hudson Valley Hospital Center’s methadone maintenance center. The facility could serve as many as 275 clients, but it’s not expected that the facility will have that many people at any one time.
Counseling would take place 6 a.m to 11 a.m., with administrative work taking place in the afternoon.
Planning officials approved the site plan in June, but they had to redo the public hearing process when they failed to alert the Town of Cortlandt about the project. The law requires Peekskill to notify Cortlandt because the project is within 500 feet of the border that separates the two municipalities.
Wendy Kelly, a Peekskill resident and a vocal opponent of the clinic, could only muster three words after the planning commission’s decision.
“I am disgusted,” she said.
Brian Dyer is the co-owner Northbrook Contracting Corp., which is adjacent to the site of the proposed clinic. Dyer said the road is suitable enough to handle the traffic the clinic would bring.
“We felt amongst us that we have made many, many compelling arguments against this,” Dyer said. “Then, with the added reinforcement of the common council’s attorney, a pre-eminently qualified 800 attorney firm that came out squarely on our side by saying it was not an appropriate use. For them to disregard that...to me it’s crazy.”
George Ondek, a Peekskill resident, agreed.
“It’s a dark day in Peekskill when 300 drug addicts will be coming here everyday, property values will go down, the so-called destination city will go down too,” Ondek said. “Who would want to come here?”
William Magwood, CEO of the Renaissance Project, declined to comment Wednesday.
Robert Spolzino, a lawyer retained by the Common Council last month, sent a letter to the Planning Commission Monday urging it to reject the proposal. Spolzino said the application didn’t fit the city‘s definition for a professional office, which is one of the uses permitted on the site.
Spolzino said clinics, which he believes better defines the project, aren’t permitted on Colonial Drive.
Douglas said the city’s building inspector is the one charged with determining if project falls within certain zoning requirements. The building inspector made that determination with the methadone clinic before it was brought before the board.
“That is the only reason the application came to the planning commission in the first place,” Douglas said.