Drug Rehab Center Plan Raises Safety Concerns
Flanders Drive residents remain worried about proposed facility for Route 206.
The three hours of testimony Thursday night in front of the Hillsborough Planning Board by the drug rehabilitation expert hired by the facility proposed for Route 206 failed to soften nearby residents' opposition.
The board will continue the hearing on Harding Corona LLC's proposed 56-bed long-term rehabilitation facility Feb. 7, with testimony on planned security and business operations to bolster the testimony given Thursday by counselor Georgette Jungels, of Millington.
Jungels, who is contracted with Bridgewater-based GenPsyche, provided an overview of the licensing requirements for such facilities, as well as the treatment program planned for the location.
According to her statements, a license to operate a residential facility that only accepts voluntary patients will be sought when and if zoning approval is given. The license bars the center from accepting patients using Medicare, Medicaid or state aid to pay for services.
"What we found was that in New Jersey, there is a lack of facilities for business and professional people," Jungels said, describing the type of patients envisioned to use the facility. "Confidentiality is, of course, the highest priority to them."
Jungels said she had told residents attending a Nov. 14 informational session a four- to six-week treatment at the proposed center would cost $30,000 to $40,000.
Under questioning, Jungels said adult addicts of any type could be accepted as long as they met the center's medical and psychological standards. She said violent or sex offenders would not be permitted.
But residents of Flanders Drive, which abuts the property the facility would be built on, took small comfort in Jungels' descriptions of the typical patient.
"I'm concerned about the safety of the neighborhood," Myrna Lieberman said. She questioned whether patients would be screened well enough to prevent violent people from getting in.
"We have over 30 children here in the neighborhood, so we're just concerned about their safety," Sue Richter said.
Jaclyn Van Cleef, of Hockenberry Road, said she was concerned former patients of the facility might return to Hillsborough after treatment to commit crimes.
"What are you guys going to do then?" she said. "You brought the crime up, you're over-burdening the police...how is GenPsyche going to deal with those people?"
Several board members had questions regarding the business operations planned, which Jungels said she couldn't answer, and Chairman Steven Sirici asked Harding Corona attorney Jessica Sweet, of Wilentz, Goldman & Spitzer, PA., to bring someone to the Feb. 7 meeting who could answer those questions.