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Peekskill Planning Board Approves Proposed Methadone Clinic

This story was updated.

PEEKSKILL, N.Y. – Members of the Peekskill Planning Commission voted unanimously Wednesday night to allow a methadone clinic on 3 Corporate Drive.

Planning board members Ruth Wells, Roger Sparling, Dwight Douglas, Jeffrey Stern and Mark Porterfield all voted to approve the application after reviewing input from the community. Member Andrew Mavian was absent.

"We could find no compelling new evidence to change our original decision," said Douglas, the board's president.

After Wednesday’s vote, Peekskill Mayor Mary Foster said the Common Council would fight the decision.

“The council and I will reach out to the attorneys that we have hired and they will advise us on the next step and where we go from here,” Foster said. “It's not over and we’re not happy.”

“Our concerns were not that it's a methadone facility but it's a clinic and it doesn't meet the definition of the professional office use as was designated in our zoning code,” Foster said. “And by stretching the definition in our zoning code to include just about anything, we might as well not have a zoning code.”

The company looking to build the clinic, the Elmsford-based Renaissance Project Inc., was approved by the Planning Commission in the summer. However Renaissance did not notify nearby Cortlandt residents of the public hearing on the clinic, so the approval was voided by the city.

The clinic is currently located at Hudson Valley Hospital Center. Renaissance representatives have said they need a larger space to treat more patients.

The law firm representing the Peekskill Common Council released a statement opposing the clinic earlier this week, arguing that it does not fall within the definition of a professional office space, which the area is zoned for.

Residents of both Peekskill and Cortlandt have voiced concerns over the traffic and safety issues that the clinic could bring to a district zoned for office use.  An online petition protesting the proposed clinic has also received hundreds of signatures. Public hearings on the issue were closed last month.

Reactions Wednesday night to the commission’s decision from area residents were a mix of anger and disappointment.

Cortlandt resident Tom Wahlman, a photographer, has his office near the planned clinic site. He said Wednesday that he believed the clinic would definitely have a negative effect on the area.

“I don’t see how you can have 300 addicts a day and it not be detrimental to the area,” Wahlman said.