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.  


Previous Coverage

Sept. 20, 2011:

Aug. 19, 2011: Zoning Board Memorializes Decision in Detox Case

Aug. 10, 2011:

June 23, 2011:

June 22, 2011:

June 2, 2011:

June 1, 2011: Ninth Hearing Over Proposed Detox Center Tonight

May 27, 2011: Still No Resolution in Case of Proposed Detox Center

May 25, 2011:

May 13, 2011:

May 11, 2011:

April 27, 2011: Debate Over Proposed Detox Center Resumes Tonight

March 19, 2011:

Feb. 9, 2011:

Jan. 24, 2011:

Dec. 23, 2010:

David Smith June 08, 2012 at 04:49 PM
I guess the not in my back yard argument doesn't go over well in State Courts.
David Smith June 09, 2012 at 04:43 PM
I was wondering is being forced to reconsider basically telling the township to change it's mind before the state forces you to or is it telling the township their argument is flawed and you need to find a different excuse.
Sarah Simon June 09, 2012 at 09:24 PM
Looks like Lawrence Twp is striking out all around. We are spending money left and right. and things just seem to be getting out of control. Thanks to the management in our town. Great Job Keep it up.


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