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Controversial Drug Rehab Proposal Withdrawn

Plan for center on Route 206 faced stiff opposition from residents.

A residential drug rehabilitation center proposal by Harding Corona for Route 206 has been withdrawn, the Hillsborough Planning Department confirmed Wednesday.

The proposal called for the construction of five buildings, totaling 34,115 square feet, on a lot located just north of the inersection of Old Somerville Road and Route 206. While the facility would have been built by Harding Corona, Gen Psych, of Bridgewater, planned to operate the facility. 

Gen Psych officials could not be reached for comment on the withdrawal of the plans, however, the proposal was met with opposition by neighbors of the area.

"I suspect that they did not want to continue their efforts here, given the vocal and unified opposition by the residents of Hillsborough," Flanders Drive resident David Fritz said.

Gen Psych met with residents living near the site Nov. 14, after reducing the planned construction—but making the center a residential facility instead of out-patient treatment center.

The meeting may have been aimed at calming residents ahead of a Planning Board hearing on the application, but if so, that effort failed. Residents turned out for the Dec. 6 meeting, and grilled Georgette Jungels, of Millington, who was to head the center's counseling and treatment operations. The Planning Board continued the hearing on Harding Corona's proposal to the February meeting to hear from the company's business managers. 

d December 27, 2012 at 05:11 PM
Concerned Citizen December 27, 2012 at 05:20 PM
Actually no one from Lebanon came to the meeting. Only residents from the area asked questions with the exception of one woman. We were aware of all that was going on in Lebanon, much to the chagrin of Ms. Jungels. She was sworn into at least one meeting in Lebanon even though she denied any knowledge of it. Not a trustworthy individual. As an example, her claim that she "lived right next to a treatment facility" is quite a stretch since the nearest facility of any type was more that one mile away from her house at 54 Overlook Drive in Middleton. Google her estate and you can easily see that she is surrounded by woods and large residential lots: Certainly not within 75 feet of a drug clinic.
Michael Dean Lewis December 27, 2012 at 07:49 PM
The people of Flanders Drive and those others showing up for the planning board meetings certainly showed how community cohesiveness, clear-thinking and rational persuasiveness can still succeed! There will be a lot celebrating over this news! Congratulations!!
Michael Dean Lewis December 27, 2012 at 07:51 PM
of course!
Truthsayer December 27, 2012 at 10:19 PM
The community must be vigilant as Gen Psych may attempt to sneak this back in . .
Edward P. Campbell December 27, 2012 at 10:59 PM
Concerned Citizen, that sounds like a great idea. Maybe you, the residents along Flanders drive and all the other people in this town who don’t want to see those trees cut down, or that lot ever developed, can form a group, collect donations from likeminded people, buy the lot at fair market price, and then give it to the township!
Concerned Hillsborough resident December 28, 2012 at 03:05 AM
I'm just curious -- assuming that residents of our town may have relatives or even children with substance abuse issues, what would the folks who chased this project away say to a more acceptable plan? Is there a more acceptable plan for a treatment center? Is there more acceptable KIND of treatment center? While I understand the risks of visits from recovering patients (some of whom might relapse or even engage in illegal activity while in our town,), is this 'victory' one of "not in my backyard?" Orher similar towns have done just fine with such centers, appropriately scaled to size to fit in the community! Why not our town?
J. M. Winchock December 28, 2012 at 12:44 PM
Thank you - I, too, would like an answer to that question. These facilities are desperately needed.
Truthsayer December 28, 2012 at 01:53 PM
There are established facilities for treatment : Princeton, Carrier , Summit and others . There are also substance abuse counselors in schools. The concern is safety for the community.People who are admitted to this level of care have a high rate of relapse and engage in dangerous behaviors. If you have been reading all the articles about this issue and the blog, it is quite clear what the concerns are . The plan was not to just treat local residents in Hillsborough and surrounding areas.. The plan was to take anyone who was interested in obtaining treatment
Edward P. Campbell December 28, 2012 at 02:52 PM
Truthsayer – One of the problems I had with Gen Psych, was their derisive attempts to portray their drug addicts as “ Good Drug Addicts,” you know the local preacher who just made a mistake and is now on his knees begging for help and forgiveness. The local athlete who just got in over his head on painkillers. Or maybe even the local Eagle Boy Scout who just slipped off the straight and narrow one time and now needs profession help. Now I’m not saying their clients couldn’t have been preachers, athletes, or boy scouts, because drug addiction hits across the board, but what I am saying is a drug addict is a drug addict, regardless of their background. We had one in our extended family who stole from each and every family member (including us) who were stupid enough to fall for his pleas as he stood at our front doors telling us how he’s clean and just needs a place to stay! At the end of the day after stealing thousands of dollars for his own family, and Lord know how much from others, he died at the young age of 28. He had been in and out of at least half a dozen drug rehabs, and in fact died in one!
S.G. December 28, 2012 at 04:03 PM
Mr. Campbell is correct; if the neighbors wish to control the property they should buy it. Additionally, have you attended any meetings of the Open Space Committee? Have you investigated the steps needed to have the property considered for Green Acres or Open Space? What is the zoning there and what use is allowed in that type of zoning? Have you tried to locate and approach any prospective buyers that might fit the zoning and be acceptable to you? Did you all attend the Planning Board meeting on December 13th? The agenda had an applicant seeking approval to reconfigure a lot at Route 206 and Doctor's Way...just about next to the GenPsych site. Did you go over to the municipal building and look at the file? How many of you have volunteered to be appointed to any township commissions or boards?
Concerned Citizen December 28, 2012 at 04:21 PM
First: as Truthsayer has pointed out, there are many facilities available that treat drug addiction. Second: This application was not to help Hillsborough residents but any one who could afford $10,000 a week in a "Betty Ford-style" clinic. Third: That plan wasn't even the original idea presented to the planning board back in 2011 which demonstrates lack of planning and certainly lack of credibility going forward. Fourth: We have a treatment center in our town. It's called Carrier Clinic. It is isolated by farms and open acreage in Bell Meade. It is not a Betty Ford clinic by any stretch of the imagination but it does treat drug addicted patients.
Concerned Citizen December 28, 2012 at 04:28 PM
A Plan for a campus-like residential treatment center: First: It must be run by physicians and care-givers that are concerned with the welfare of their patients and not how much an insurance company can pay. Second: The campus should be located in an isolated and rural setting. Numerous studies have shown the benefit of removing the patient from a familiar environment and placing them into a COMMUNITY where all outside distractions are removed. Residential treatment centers are NOT meant to be in residential areas or in areas where it is easy to see the outside distractions which got those patients into treatment in the first place. So Isolated but still an internal community.
Concerned Citizen December 28, 2012 at 04:42 PM
We are working on as many fronts as we can. Ideally, we would like to get the land set into green acres designation. The current asking price for the 9 acre lot is $1,890,000. Imagine trying to raise that amount from your neighbors. The zoning of that lot is a whole other issue. It is currently HS zone but was not done with legally required notification in 2008 so it throws that question into nebulous land. The other lots in Block 182 which were being adjusted in the Dec. 13th meeting were appropriately notified and were just being conjoined together. These lots already were residential in nature and the zoning change allowed them to remain so and allowed them to use the lots for other purposes.
Edward P. Campbell December 28, 2012 at 08:34 PM
Concerned Citizen - $1.89 million, most likely impossible, but Green Acres, the Hillsborough Open Space tax and or the Country Open Space programs are not free. They cost each and every taxpayer in the State of NJ a few hundred dollars a year if not more. Outside of that, there are hundreds if not thousands of lots like this one that need “saved,” and like it or not the owners of those properties are entitled to maximize their profit for those sales, just as much as you are if you sold your property too. No offence, but is it really fair to force an 80 year old grandmother living here on a fixed income to “donate” to save those trees? I’m just asking, but isn't that just what happens if the government ends up buying that property for preservation, assuming the 80 year old pays of had paid her taxes? Well anyway, good luck, and I trust you are finding it is better to be involved in government than just watching it from the sidelines!
Ridgewooder December 30, 2012 at 12:41 AM
I don't want drug addicts near my family.
ANL December 30, 2012 at 03:16 AM
Amazing the comments by people who have not done the research or are not privy to the inside of this whole thing. It is so much more than putting a drug rehab in a residential neighborhood. S.G. - Obviously you are in disagreement with the residents of Flanders Drive - what exactly is your position on all of this? Who are you? Because I'm sure if you were more educated on everything that was involved in this issue (beginning from the incorrect rezoning of the property) maybe your opinions would be different.
Truthsayer December 30, 2012 at 02:13 PM
S G. Would you rather have the facility built in your own backyard ? Are you a Hillsborough resident?
Truthsayer December 30, 2012 at 02:20 PM
Concerned Citizen: Alina Lodge in New Jersey is a long term residential treatment center , patients pay out of pocket if the insurance does not cover .
Concerned Hillsborough resident December 30, 2012 at 08:23 PM
Everyone is entitled to their say; it's what makes America special. But the truth is that we don't know what "ALL" drug addicts are like. Many are our neighbors but we don't know it...or our kids...or our friends' kids. No one wants any kind of neighbors who will bring crime to neighborhoods. But if you do the research and look at the demographic ranges of people who might be treated in such a facility, you will see that its patients can be from many places, from Hillsborough to Paterson to Short Hills to Trenton... white collar, blue collar. Adults with ADHD as well as severe psychiatric conditions. AND the fact is that too few people have been able to afford health insurance to go to places like Carrier. It's too complex an issue. All some of us are saying is that this town can't legally or morally reject certain demographics or diagnoses of people...because to paraphrase Pogo so long ago-- "they is us." Just as drunk driving accidents happen here as they do elsewhere, so can treatment to help prevent them...seems to me.
Truthsayer December 30, 2012 at 09:38 PM
People seem to think that Gen Psych is the only available treatment facility for Hillsborough residents and treatment is being denied . . There are available established facilities that serve Hillsborough residents and anyone across the USA who wishes to receive treatment . These facilities are located in non residential areas and some can treat both mental health and substance abuse. Gen Psych indicated they cannot treat those with mental illness yet most substance abusers do require treatment of these dual diagnoses. Residents have every right to ensure the safety of their community.. Those who do not have insurance can certainly apply for government assistance . Many facilities receive county funding to allow such treatment for those in need
S.G. December 31, 2012 at 02:50 PM
If you are proposing the Green Acres or Open Space program puchase this land, then you ARE trying to raise that from your neighbors. Those programs are funded by the taxpayers. What were the reasons that the township gave for this lot not being open space? Your comment about the notification confuses me. The township is very good about publicizing township actions, agendas, etc.
S.G. December 31, 2012 at 02:58 PM
Interesting that you ask about me being educated regarding this application. I attended the original hearing (in 2011, I think) when they ran their proposal by the board for feed back. I was at the TC meetings where the zoning was discussed. I have gone to the municipall building multiple times to look at the file. What have you done? My position? If the proposal and the zoning correspond, if the applicant meets the requirements, what would you like the township to do? What are the rights of the property owner? What other businesses would you like to see at that location?
S.G. December 31, 2012 at 03:03 PM
I moved into HT from a neighboring town about 30 years ago and my spouse has lived here for over 50 years. How long have you lived here? There is a 19-acre site for sale near me, but it is not zoned for this use and is way too large for GenPsych's proposal.
S.G. December 31, 2012 at 03:06 PM
I had a family member who needed inpatient psychiatric treatment. His health insurance was paying. He ended up having to go to NY state.
Truthsayer December 31, 2012 at 03:41 PM
S.G. Please elaborate, if family member resided in NJ and had insurance, why did this person need to be treated in a NY State Facility? Tx
Concerned Citizen December 31, 2012 at 03:51 PM
Zoning: the township dropped the ball on the notification to Flanders residents about the zoning change. So we were not informed in 2008 about property changes. We had previously been under the assumption that that acreage was already declared into open space as. The 9 acre parcel of land, according to a realtor who sold property bordering this lot, was supposed to be non-developable. This turns out to be not the case. Half of that acreage is actually non-developable because of state regulations on wetlands other environmental concerns. Only a portion can be used that is out of the flood plain and wetlands designation. The previous zoning, HOO, made it next to impossible for this land to be used for anything but the residence that already exists. Sandra Kulina has been trying to sell this land for over 25 years and has been unable to move it. I truly feel sorry for her. She is in an impossible situation. By the way, I am certainly not asking her to donate a $2 million dollar property into open space. There are other ways for this to happen.
S.G. December 31, 2012 at 04:15 PM
There were no openings in this area for a private voluntary admission. Even the VA's had a waiting list. Also, I am not sure if you understood that he admitted himself to a private psychiatric facility located in New York State. Not a New York State facility.
Mack January 01, 2013 at 12:11 AM
S.G, you seem to be very bothered about this. Are you the owner of the property? Are you Gensypch? Maybe you want a drug rehab in town? FYI, carrier has plenty of beds for patients. They advertise on tv and radio 24/7. One last thing, you mentioned 19 acres for sale by you. Maybe the seller can subdivide the property and then maybe Genpsych will be interested in purchasing. This way, everyone is happy. The Flanders Dr residence will sleep better at night and you get your rehab facility in your neighborhood next door to your home, your kids, your grandkids. I betcha a million bucks you would think differently. Sleep Well
Mick January 04, 2013 at 04:46 AM
I think the point regarding availability of substance abuse facilities cannot be overstated. We HAVE a facility equipped which helps thousands of patients a year in both detoxification and rehabilitation, inpatient and intensive outpatient. I'm referring to Carrier Clinic, of course. Couple Carrier with Princeton House and you have over 10k individuals helped each year on a 10 mile stretch of 206. We already have enough of options for substance abuse treatment in 'our back yard'.


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