The Yorktown Town Board voted unanimously last week to settle a lawsuit that was filed against them by the operators of a controversial sober living home on Underhill Avenue.
The litigation was initiated last summer, two days after the board, which at the time included Supervisor Michael Grace and Councilman Gregory Bernard, voted to revoke a special use permit following confirmation that the residence had been sold.
In legal papers filed July 20, 2017 in federal court, attorney Robert Schonfeld, who appeared at a July 18 Town Board meeting and engaged in verbal confrontations with board members and former Town Attorney Michael McDermott, alleged the board reacted to neighborhood opposition and acted in a “discriminatory manner” when revoking the permit originally granted to Constellations Recovery (a/k/a Compass Westchester). Another lawsuit was filed in state Supreme Court last August
McDermott explained at that meeting one of the conditions imposed by the board on Constellations Recovery when the permit was granted in 2015 was any change in ownership made the permit null and void.
On May 11, 2017, the 8,470-square-foot home at 482 Underhill Avenue was sold by Tom McCrossan and Mark McGoldrick to Justin Gurland, Matthew Rinklin and Zachary Clark, but McCrossan and McGoldrik claimed to remain as operators of the facility.
As part of last week’s settlement, interim Town Attorney Richard Abbate explained the town agreed to acknowledge that the Sober Living Residence is a permitted use as of right as a single-family residential use in the Zoning Code, and therefore it is not necessary to issue or modify any special use permit.
“From the town’s perspective, we’re able to put an end to this litigation,” said Abbate, who noted the town did not have to pay any financial damages to the plaintiffs.
Constellations Recovery offered Sober Living for as many as 14 adults, 18 years or older who had completed 30-, 60-, or 90-day inpatient, outpatient treatment, or had otherwise been cleared by a licensed professional to participate. Opened in May 2015, it was the first High End Recovery Center in Westchester. It was co-founded by McCrossan’s son, Devin, a recovering addict who was Director of Admissions.
One of the individuals who lived at the home was Henry “Hank” McWilliam, an 18-year-old Rye High School senior who died December 21, 2015 of an overdose after a weeklong stint there. Soon after, Compass Westchester ceased operating the residence.
Release Recovery LLC and Doah Property LLC now operate a residence at the same location for people recovering from alcoholism and substance abuse.