The Examiner

Proposed Armonk Treatment Center Advances at State Level

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A proposed community residence has cleared another hurdle in its quest to operate in an Armonk house after the state last week refused to sustain the Town of North Castle’s objection to the plan.

Anne Marie Sullivan, commissioner for the state Office of Mental Health (OMH), determined on Apr. 12 that the presence of the Malibu, Calif.-based Paradigm Treatment Center at 14-16 Cole Drive to treat up to eight adolescents with depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder and/or co-occurring dependency issues “would not substantially alter the nature and character of the area in which the proposed facility would be sited.”

“The Independent Hearing Officer found the evidence did not establish that the character of the area would be changed and therefore the Commissioner could not sustain the Town’s objection,” read an Apr. 17 statement from OMH spokesman James Plastiras.

Plastiras said the commissioner’s conclusion does not provide Paradigm with an operating certificate. The next step in the process is for Paradigm to submit its Prior Approval Review (PAR) application for the agency to evaluate. That is considered a separate matter from the issues of neighborhood character and the potential for overconcentration of similar facilities in town.

As part of the PAR application, Paradigm must demonstrate “consistency with local service plans, reasonable assurance that funds will be available to finance operating expenses, safety, appropriate service to the target population and several other requirements,” Sullivan’s report read.

The commissioner’s determination came a month after a nearly six-hour hearing on Mar. 13 held at the OMH regional office in Poughkeepsie where attorneys for the town and Paradigm presented their case by questioning witnesses who testified before a hearing officer.

The hearing was triggered after the North Castle Town Board had formally voted in late January to object to Paradigm’s attempt for state licensure under the New York State Padavan Law. The law was created to prevent municipalities from establishing zoning ordinances to block needed treatment facilities from being developed, according to OMH.

Under the Padavan Law, a municipality may object to a community residence if it represents an overconcentration of similar facilities and if it would change the character of the area.

Sullivan wrote in her determination that the record of the testimony failed to convince her that the existence of the treatment center within the residence would alter the area.

Furthermore, since only one state-licensed facility is in the hamlet of Armonk, it does not meet the standard for overconcentration, Sullivan concluded. She did acknowledge three other facilities between 1.8 and 3.5 miles from the property, but none are within North Castle’s borders.

“This does not constitute a significant concentration of facilities that would substantially alter the nature and character of the area in which the facility is proposed to be based,” Sullivan stated.

An attempt on Monday to reach Terence McLaughlin, an Armonk resident who along with his neighbors has opposed Paradigm attempts to move into the property, was unsuccessful.



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