As many of you know, this August our persistent and successful efforts to keep commercial development out of Greater Teatown enter the fifth year. Over the past four years we’ve worked with water, traffic and other consultants, attorneys and the Town of Cortlandt, to assess the impact of the proposed Hudson Ridge Wellness Center’s 92 bed commercial substance abuse treatment center at Quaker Ridge Road on our environment and area. After a few months of quiet we are now gearing up for a round of public hearings before the Town of Cortlandt Zoning Board of Appeals on August 21 and September 18.
This issue at hand is technical and legal, but the outcome is high stakes for us: The Planning Board had asked its staff to determine if the HRWC application satisfied the definition of a “hospital” that is eligible for a Special Permit in the R-80 Zoning District. In March the Director of Code Enforcement for Cortlandt issued a memo ruling that the proposed facility was not a hospital as Hudson Ridge has been claiming when pursuing its requested Special Permit, but in fact a commercial rehab facility. A rehab facility is not permitted by Special Permit or otherwise in the R-80 District.
In the hearings before the ZBA, Hudson Ridge will argue that it is, indeed, a hospital within the meaning of the Zoning Code, and petition the ZBA to overrule the Director of Code Enforcement’s memo. During the hearings the author of the memo will likely be asked to explain his decision, probably during the September hearing. Our attorneys, including attorneys that we’ve hired having expertise in the differing NYS licensing requirements for hospitals and rehab facilities, will be there to support the Code Enforcement ruling. If the ZBA concludes that the proposal does, in fact, constitute a hospital that is eligible for a Special Permit under Town zoning and overturns the memo, that’s not good for us: the process for approving the hospital will then pick up where it left off back at the Planning Board. But if the ZBA decides that the memo stands, it could help us. Again, under current zoning law, a commercial rehab facility is not permitted in our residential neighborhood. Under this scenario, Hudson Ridge would have to seek a zoning change, re-apply to open a treatment center facility elsewhere in the Town, or, as is likely the case, commence litigation against the Town arguing, among other things, that the Town’s decisions were made in error. A positive ruling by the ZBA to uphold the Code Enforcement memo would be an important step in preserving Greater Teatown.
We are at a crossroads now and badly need your support: Last year we held two successful fund-raisers that paid for the attorneys and experts who worked on the issues before the Planning Board in 2018 thanks to the support of many of you. Our input was instrumental in getting water tests and clarification from Hudson Ridge on how it would operate. But now we need at least $20,000 to carry us through this crucial round of hearings and into the end of the year. THIS MONEY IS ESSENTIAL. Instead of asking you to sacrifice your valuable summer time to attend fund-raisers, or bake sales, we are asking you to give generously as much as you can. PLEASE CONSIDER a minimum contribution of $100.00. But please give something. We wouldn’t be asking if this weren’t critical. If ever there were a time for you to contribute for the first time, or contribute again, it is now. Commercial development puts every residential neighborhood in Greater Teatown at risk. If we do not stand up to preserve this unique gem of Westchester, no one will. It’s up to all of us.
It’s easy to contribute:
1. Just go to the “Donate” page to make a contribution OR
2. Mail a check to: CRHISD
P. O. Box 189
Croton on Hudson, NY 10520
We will keep you posted on the meetings and urge as many of you as possible to attend because it’s important to show town officials that we continue to care about what happens to Greater Teatown.
Once again, please help with as generous a contribution as you can.
In the meantime, let’s all enjoy this wonderful weather.
Jill and Joel Greenstein
Lois and Charley Goldsmith