DUNNSTOWN — The Woodward Township zoning hearing board has given its unanimous approval, with multiple conditions attached, to plans for an adolescent drug and alcohol treatment center.
The Wednesday night board approval was for a “special exception” to allow construction of the treatment center in an area zoned low density residential. After the two and a half hour hearing, project developer Robert Wise Jr. said he was pleased with the approval and said all board-imposed stipulations would be met.
Next up, Wise said, is land development on the 100-acre site off Route 664, along with needed planning approvals from the township and Clinton County. The developer said he will be getting a business plan to a bank by the latter part of this spring. If the project proceeds on schedule, Wise said he hopes to have construction underway by this fall, the residential facility to open in the summer of 2018.
The zoning board attached a series of conditions to its approval; they include a safety plan to alert the surrounding residential area in case of any unauthorized client departures from the treatment center. Also security cameras will be required and a 10-foot high perimeter security fence. There is to be no out-patient treatment and residents are to stay for a minimum of 90 days as they go through detoxification and rehabilitation.
As explained by Wise and project solicitor Larry Coploff, the facility would be an institutional residence housing 25 adolescents, male and female, between the ages of 13 and 17.
Some 50 township residents attended the hearing at the Dunnstown Fire Hall. It had been continued from earlier in the month. The hearing was amicable as questions were raised about, among other things, the distance between the facility’s structures and nearby residences. Project backers said that distance would range from 500 to 1,500 feet. Concerns were also expressed about a feared drop in property values for neighborhood homes. Many of those attending had departed by the time the board made its vote after a detailed presentation on the approval motion as presented by zoning board solicitor Frank Miceli.