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Residents Speak Out On Methadone Clinic on Peekskill/Cortlandt Border

PEEKSKILL, N.Y. – The city Planning Commission has closed the public hearing on a planned methadone clinic at 7 Corporate Drive but extended the deadline for accepting written comments until its Oct. 10 meeting.

The commission heard comments from area residents and business owners at its Tuesday meeting on the planned facility, to be run by the Renaissance Project of Elmsford. Both Peekskill Mayor Mary Foster and Cortlandt Supervisor Linda Puglisi have voiced concerns about the effects of putting the clinic on Corporate Drive, which is off Highland Avenue near the Cortlandt border.

City planner Jeremy Doxsee explained to those on hand that up to 40 people could be enrolled in counseling programs at the facility, and a maximum of 235 people could receive some kind of opiate treatment during a week.

“At any one given time there could be 275 clients being treated by the Renaissance Project, but of course they wouldn’t all be there at any given time or any given day,” Doxsee said. “The understanding is that the counseling and the opiate treatment would take place between 6 and 11 in the morning, and in the afternoon there would be some administrative work done in the offices.”

But business owners near the location said they were concerned about safety. Brian Dyer of Northbrook Contracting said he worried about increased traffic on what he described as a “glorified driveway.”

“It’s an uncontrolled intersection at the bottom of a hill,” Dyer said. “It’s in the middle of a horizontal curve, there’s no stop signs or yield signs, and, obviously, no traffic light.”

Dyer also said he was concerned about whether the planned two security guards would be enough to handle the up to 50 patients that he estimated may be at the location at a time.

Dr. Leonard Berk, owner of Cortlandt Animal Hospital, also had concerns about safety. Drivers on that stretch of Highland Avenue tend to speed and accidents are already frequent, he said. The road is also dangerous in the winter, he added.

“At six in the morning when there are no sanding trucks, are you going to guarantee us that hill is going to be free of ice when all the reformed addicts are coming for their methadone?” Berk asked.

Berk also said he was concerned about the children in the Dunbar Heights housing complex up the street, and said he feared the stock of drugs that he keeps in his office might attract addicts to break in.

“You are endangering the whole area,” Berk told Planning Commission members.

Also giving comments was Dr. Jane Norton, a retired surgeon. Norton asked why the clinic was being moved from Hudson Valley Hospital Center at all.

“It’s been there for almost 30 years, and it seems that a hospital is the best place for people who have problems with drugs,” Norton said.

Norton also said she was concerned that addicts receiving treatment could suffer harmful or even deadly side effects from the treatment, and the distance from the hospital may be an issue.

“I am positive it will cause deaths,” Norton said.

Written comments to the Planning Department can be sent by email to Peekskill Director of Planning Anthony Ruggiero at aruggiero@cityofpeekskill.com .