Zoning Board Ordered to Reconsider Detox Center Denial
A superior court judge has reportedly rejected the Lawrence Township Zoning Board's June 2011 decision to deny a variance application from an inpatient drug and alcohol detoxification center that wanted to open on Federal City Road.
The Trentonian newspaper is reporting that the Lawrence Township Zoning Board of Adjustment has been ordered to reconsider its June 2011 denial of a use variance that was needed for an inpatient drug and alcohol detoxification center to open in a building on Federal City Road.
According to a report published by The Trentonian, Superior Court Judge Mary Jacobson on Thursday (June 7) ruled that the board was wrong when, by a 4-2 vote, it decided the proposed detoxification center was “not inherently beneficial” under state law and, in turn, denied the variance application
John Simone, the developer who owns the property, and Sunrise Detox, the company that would have run the 38-bed inpatient facility, last year filed a lawsuit to appeal the zoning board’s decision.
The board’s rejection of the variance application came after nine exhausting and often-heated zoning board hearings, dating back to November 2010, that featured testimony from supporters of the plan – who claimed that a need exists in the area for detoxification services – and those vehemently opposed to the idea, including nearby residents who said they feared for their safety and believed such a facility should not be located so close to residential neighborhoods.
The building in question at 100 Federal City Rd. sits at the entrance to the Traditions at Federal Point adult community and directly behind the homes in another development that includes Frederick Court and Karena Lane. In addition to their concerns about safety, neighbors objected to the increased traffic and noise – particularly from delivery trucks - that would come from the facility, which would include fulltime kitchen and laundry facilities.
The judge’s decision to overturn the zoning board’s decision came just one day after Lawrence Township Council, during its regular meeting Wednesday night (June 6) approved a resolution increasing by $60,000 the contract amount for attorney David Roskos to serve as “special counsel in the matter of Simone Investment Group LLC vs. Township of Lawrence and Lawrence Township Zoning Board of Adjustment.”
That increase brings the maximum amount of that contract up to $102,000, with funding available from the township’s self-insurance trust fund account, Township Manager Richard Krawczun noted in his meeting memo.
The zoning board's reconsideration of the detox center application could begin as early as July, the Trentonian reported.
Sept. 20, 2011: Lawsuit Filed Over Denial of Variance for Detox Facility
Aug. 19, 2011: Zoning Board Memorializes Decision in Detox Case
June 23, 2011: Zoning Board Denies Variance for Detox Center
June 22, 2011: Decision Due Tonight on Controversial Detox Center
June 2, 2011: Public Comment on Detox Center Proposal Now Over
June 1, 2011: Ninth Hearing Over Proposed Detox Center Tonight
May 27, 2011: Still No Resolution in Case of Proposed Detox Center
May 13, 2011: Residents Speak Out Against Proposed Detox Center
May 11, 2011: 7th Hearing on Controversial Detox Center Tonight
April 27, 2011: Debate Over Proposed Detox Center Resumes Tonight
Jan. 24, 2011: Debate Continues Over Proposed Rehab Center
Dec. 23, 2010: More Hearings for Proposed Rehab Center