Substance Abuse Hospital Plans to Proceed Despite Court Defeat

A nine-month moratorium imposed by the Cortlandt Town Board last year that temporarily stalled a proposed luxury substance abuse hospital survived a legal challenge.

Acting State Supreme Court Justice Robert Neary ruled on June 21 that the board’s action was “a valid stopgap or interim measure, reasonably designed to temporarily halt development while the town considered its new Master Plan.”

“The court finds that the board’s determination to enact the moratorium was reasonable and supported by the record and finds no basis to disturb their determination,” Neary further stated.

The September 15, 2015 moratorium was challenged by Hudson Ridge Wellness Center, which in July 2015 submitted an application for a special use permit with a site plan to establish a high-end specialty hospital to treat substance abuse patients on Quaker Ridge Road.

Hudson Ridge purchased the property in 2010 and began restoring the seven buildings. The 20-acre site was once used as a hospital for people suffering from substance abuse. On December 18, 2015, Hudson Ridge sought to obtain a variance from the Town Board from the moratorium on the basis of a hardship, but that request was denied.

Meanwhile, Hudson Ridge also filed a $15 million civil rights lawsuit against the town, contending Cortlandt violated the federal Americans with Disabilities Act. That lawsuit has been withdrawn.

Robert Davis, an attorney for Hudson Ridge, said Monday the court decision was “a moot point” since the moratorium has expired and the Town Board has chosen not to renew it. Therefore, Hudson Ridge is planning to proceed with its application before the town’s Planning Board and Zoning Board of Appeals this fall.

Davis said his clients hope to work closely with town officials to address the growing problem of substance abuse in the region.

“We’re confident that we’re entitled to approval,” Davis said, adding he believes the hospital will provide a lot of benefits to Cortlandt, including preferential treatment to town residents.

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