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Resistance To Planned Detox Center Grows In White Plains Neighborhood

Plans to build an upscale alcohol and drug detox center in a residential neighborhood are meeting growing resistance here.  At the neighborhood’s Common Council meeting on Monday night, Carhart residents brought up security and safety issues in their bid to stop construction of the facility, designed to house over 30 people in a former nursing home.

Sunrise Detox has applied for a community residence permit to place the facility in the former Nathan Miller Center for Nursing Care.  It purchased the two-storey, 19 100 sq. foot brick building at 37 Dekalb Avenue last year.  Sunrise plans to use the building to house people who seek treatment, privacy and discrete counseling.  The average residency would be for 5.7 days, according to their application.

Sunrise operates similar centers in Lake Worth, Florida and Stirling, New Jersey and charges clients $900-1,300/day for treatment there.  The facilities do not accept court-ordered or welfare patients.  Clients can sign in and out, according to Sunrise CEO Linda Burns.  She said that Sunrise is a well controlled facility and they never had any problems with patients outside of it.

Not so, says the Carhart Neighborhood Association member and neighborhood resident Frank Pazzella.  He has investigated the two other facilities Sunrise owns and claims he provided the Council with details of emergency calls at both facilities.  The calls number in the hundreds and include reports of assaults and burglaries.

Pazzella said that safety is their primary concern.  Other residents brought up their concerns that there are ten school bus stops in the area.  They also feel that the presence of pharmacies and liquor stores makes Carhart not the right place for a drug and alcohol detox center.

The matter has been continued to the next Council hearing, the date of which has not been announced.