Like many communities Greater Teatown and the towns of Cortlandt, New Castle, Ossining, and Yorktown that make up our community face a challenge balancing economic development with preservation of natural beauty and resources. Making our community of particular importance is our position within the boundaries of the Lower Hudson Valley Watershed, which supplies a large portion of New York City’s drinking water. We also have water bodies that flow into the Hudson River, a critical estuary in the Northeast. Much of this area near the Croton Reservoir (New York City’s water supply) consists of long-established residential neighborhoods with large lot-size requirements to protect the watershed and wetlands of the area, which is where the Hudson Institute is located.
The current proposal for the former Hudson Institute is to develop a specialty hospital that would treat patients with chemical dependencies. While we recognize the need for such treatment, we believe specialty hospitals should be sited in appropriate locations. In fact, the Town of Cortlandt, in its award winning Master Plan, has proposed a Medical Oriented District (MOD). The MOD is an ideal location for specialty hospitals and other medical facilities.
Specific Concerns about the Current Proposal
Based on public documents related to the proposal, it is immediately clear that there are significant problems with locating a large commercial facility in an environmentally sensitive and historically significant residential neighborhood. A full Environmental Impact Study will be needed to fully understand the breadth and depth of the problems however, following is a short outline of some of the most obvious issues:
- Solid: according to the applicant 5 tons of solid waste would need to be carted off of the property each week. That is the weight limit currently in place for trucks on several of our rural roads.
- Waste Water: All of the water the applicant proposes to take out of the ground, must be dealt with as waste water. For this, the applicant proposes to use on site septic fields. This is one key reason a full Environmental Impact Statement is needed for this project. Especially given the location of the facility in a sensitive watershed area.
- Medical: This is another specialized type of waste that must be removed on a regular basis by another commercial vendor. Each of these commercial vendors adds to the degradation of our rural residential character.
Access to a State road is a requirement for placing a specialty hospital. Quaker Ridge Road is not a State road, it is a Town road. In addition, it is a rural road with no sidewalks and no lighting. This type of road is best suited to the type of zoning we have in our area – 2 acres single family residential.
A 92 bed facility comes with a lot of traffic. In fact, we believe the numbers cited in the applicant’s materials are extremely low. For example 92 full time equivalents implies a 1:1 staff to patient ratio versus a 1:4 ratio of a facility cited by the applicant.
The application does not even mention many of the service providers required to maintain a facility of this nature. Food service is just one of many omissions.
Ultimately, we need a Westchester County led Traffic study to understand the impact of this project and others including the Sunshine Home Expansion on Spring Valley Road. For more information on that please go to SHDevelopment.org
The applicant suggests that the facility will use 12,800 gallons of water per day. To put that in perspective: that is almost twice as much water than the area would need to support if it was developed as currently zoned.
All of this water needs to come from on property wells. This runs the risk of impacting wells of nearby neighbors. This is one key reason a full Environmental Impact Statement is needed for this project.
There are at least three types of waste produced by a drug addiction treatment facility.
Indian Point Nuclear Power Plant Evacuation Zone
On the best of days, our roads and way of life will be impacted by placing a commercial facility in our residential neighborhood. In the event of an evacuation because of a nuclear event, not only our roads but also our emergency response personnel would be further taxed by the presence of patients, staff, and visitors. This impact is exacerbated by other groups, such as Teatown Lake Reservation, and the Sunshine Children’s Home, seeking special permits at this time. This is a key reason the citizens of Cortlandt, Croton, New Castle, Ossining, and Yorktown deserve a regional traffic study conducted by Westchester County.