My neighbors in Greater Teatown and the Town of Cortlandt have spent the past six years stuck in a back-and-forth with a secretive developer who is attempting to ram through approvals to create a self-described “luxury substance abuse treatment facility” at the former Hudson Institute on Quaker Ridge Road.
When our community first learned of plans to develop the site, we did what any neighbors would: we sought more information – logistics, details and formal proposals – so that we and the town could properly assess the project’s merits, feasibility and impact on our community.
We have been stonewalled every step of the way, and when we have gotten information, we have found fatal flaws in the developer’s plans.
This project demands more scrutiny – from the town, from our local media outlets, and from the state – and I am confident that a hard look will reveal the development is not a good fit for our community. Here’s why.
First and foremost, the developer’s math does not add up. The project is simply unfeasible.
The developer is proposing a 92-bed rehabilitation facility targeted toward “high-end” clientele from New York City and across the country, claiming to emulate the Betty Ford Center in Rancho Mirage, Calif. But at the same time, they promise that the site’s building footprint will not change, with the entire program fitting inside the site’s existing 38,560 square feet. That means every service that supposedly will be provided for the 92 high-end clients – sleeping, eating, bathing, recreating, receiving therapy and more – will be squeezed into the existing square footage.
If the developer is to be believed, the Hudson Ridge Wellness Center would allocate approximately 419 gross square feet per client. On the other hand, the Betty Ford Center, which the applicant compares its facility to, allocates about 1,372 gross square feet per client – more than three times what Hudson Ridge Wellness is proposing.
This is physically impossible – and it is only one of many serious discrepancies and red flags that lead us to worry that this project is unfeasible and will not actually provide the services the developers claim they will.
If a developer with a track record of success and a true desire to serve our community came forward, I would happily work with them to ensure the best outcome for my neighborhood, but it is obvious that is not the case with this project.
I urge my fellow residents, our town officials and this newspaper to continue asking questions and ensure that only smart, safe and sustainable development is allowed. If we take this responsible step, it will become abundantly clear that this project is unworkable and is not the right fit for our community.