Representatives of the California-based residential teen treatment center that has proposed moving into and opening operations in an eight-bedroom house in Armonk will appear before a hearing officer on Tuesday, Mar. 7
On Monday, the state Office of Mental Health announced the hearing for Paradigm Treatment Centers of Malibu, Calif. will take place at 10 a.m. The location of the hearing and whether it will be open to the public has not yet been determined, according to an OMH spokesperson.
In a Feb. 1 letter, Joshua Pepper, the deputy OMH commissioner, informed attorney Robert Christmas, who represents Paradigm, that the proceedings will be scheduled.
Once the hearing is held, a decision must be rendered within 30 days, according to the OMH.
The request by Paradigm was expected following the North Castle Town Board’s unanimous vote on Jan. 25 to object to its request to operate a facility at 14-16 Cole Drive based on an overconcentration of residential facilities in the area.
It has stirred major opposition not only among neighbors on Cole Drive and Davis Drive but throughout Armonk. There has been vocal outcry regarding an increase in traffic and safety and environmental concerns connected to the proposed use. Paradigm ran into stern opposition, particularly after the original marketing materials stated that the Armonk facility would treat teens with substance abuse.
Paradigm has since contended that the facility would serve up to eight teens suffering from depression, trauma and anxiety and would not serve as a residence to treat adolescents with alcohol and drug dependency issues. Representatives for Paradigm have acknowledged that some residents could have co-occurring substance abuse disorders.
Meanwhile, North Castle’s two state representatives, Assemblyman David Buchwald (D-White Plains) and Sen. George Latimer (D-Rye), have gone to bat for the town in the quest to stop Paradigm. The lawmakers collaborated on a three-page letter to OMH Commissioner Ann Marie Sullivan on Jan. 31, explaining why the Padavan Law, the 1978 measure that has helped to deinstitutionalize those with developmental disabilities, is being misapplied in this instance.
Currently, there are five facilities that fall under the law within two miles of this address, their letter stated. However, the law was geared to help permanent residents in group home settings, not a transient population.
“The establishment of such a transient facility does not promote the deinstitutionalization of ‘persons with developmental retardation’ for whose benefit the Padavan Law was originally passed,” according to the legislators’ letter. “To the contrary, were the Commissioner to sanction this kind of abuse of the Padavan Statute, it would perversely impede the State’s goal of deinstitutionalizing developmentally retarded persons.”
Town Supervisor Michael Schiliro said he believes the point of allowing a short-term facility to be included under the law, thereby taking up a spot that could be used by a more traditional group home, is one of the strongest arguments against the Paradigm application.
Paradigm representatives have said most of the teens would stay for 30 to 45 days.
“It’s very well thought out by both of our representatives, also voicing concern about application of the Padavan Law,” Schiliro said.
Last month, an OMH spokesperson told The Examiner that the Padavan Law does not address anticipated length of stay for residents.