Category Archives: treatment center

>The Independent: Mid’town methadone clinic has neighbors up in arms Twp. attorney: Facility is permitted use in business zone

>I was a little surprised to see that the Independent has chimed in already on the methadone clinic in Middletown. Usually due to the nature of it’s weekly publication it lags behind a week or so of the currentness cycle.

I wont bore you with the analysis, the article is a straight forward rendition of the events of Monday night’s Middletown Township Committee meeting so I’ll just post a few quotes below from it and let you guys be the judge by leaving comments if you wish:

Middletown residents packed town hall on June 20 and demanded that the township revoke the certificate of occupancy (CO) of a methadone clinic, which has been legally operating near Apple Farm Road for several months.

The clinic, Middletown Medical, located on Route 35, which, according to its website, counsels opiate addicts and dispenses methadone to wean them off their dependence, has residents fearing for the integrity of their neighborhood.

“The location of the clinic jeopardizes our safety, the safety of our homes and most importantly, the safety of those who actively walk, run, drive or play in our neighborhood,” resident Diane Mullaney said at the Township Committee meeting.

Mullaney said that the clinic is near a school bus stop, senior center and the neighborhood’s only entrance and exit road. “Ultimately, the township neglected to keep the best interest of our neighborhood in their decision,” she said….

“The [state’s] municipal land use law … was amended a decade ago to specifically designate methadone clinics as business uses, allowing municipalities to only ban them from residential zones,” Township Attorney Brian Nelson advised.

Because the clinic is located on Route 35 in a business district, this law stifles any legal recourse from the township, Nelson said.

“Neither the mayor nor the governing body members were particularly pleased with this answer,” Nelson said.

“If you’re asking for us to pull the CO, which is what it sounds like you’re asking, we can’t legally do it,” Mayor Anthony Fiore said to residents.

“If you’re asking to put the township at risk for amajor lawsuit to do so, I don’t think that’s our fiduciary responsibility when we’re told by legal counsel that we won’t win.”…

“Nobody other than the zoning officer and code officials receive notice of these CO’s.”

Mercantante said that similar transfers happen every day.

“No member of this committee, including myself, had any knowledge that this facility was a methadone clinic,” Fiore said….

“I don’t want this business in Middletown, and I don’t think anyone else wants this business in Middletown. However, Route 35 is a state highway and it is a state business zone,” Fiore said.

“None of the committee is happy about this; in a best-case scenario, it’s terrible,” said Committeeman Steven Massell….

“We can control everything with respect to making sure that they are operating in a legal fashion and that they’re not going to cause those quality-of-life issues that you mention,” Fiore said.

“That’s our job. That’s our priority as a township committee, and we will do that.”…

Fiore said that the township also relies on the vigilance of neighborhood residents to help police.

“This is a huge township. You’re the eyes and ears, and if you see something there, we need to know about it,” he said.

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Filed under Brian Nelson, heroin, methadone clinic, Middletown Clinic, Middletown NJ, opiate addiction, the Independent, Tony Fiore, Tony Mercantante, Township Committee, treatment center

>Methadone Clinic Uproar At Town Hall

>I briefly attended last nights Middletown Township Committee meeting, I was there for only the first 45 minutes, leaving at 8:45pm. It’ to bad that I did because I could tell from the get go that it was going to be one hell of a night.

The first indication that it was going to be a hot one last night was the parking lot, nearly every space was full and that has happened in a very long time.
The other indication was the agitation of many in the audience. The standing room only, overflowing into the lobby crowd, was a mixed bag of residents who had never attended a Township Committee meeting before until last night and wanted to express their displeasure at having a methadone clinic open up just outside of the only way in and out of their neighborhood.
Having never been to a meeting before they were unaware of the protocol of following the agenda and couldn’t understand why they had to wait to speak their mind.
Many hemmed and hawed having to wait their turn while sitting through the solar project presentation presented by a Birdsall Engineering representative that rushed through the presentation and a couple of public hearings on different ordinances, which by that time I had to leave.
Before I left however I did speak to a few individuals who expressed their dismay at not being informed of the methadone clinic a head of time, wondering exactly how something like this could happen and were hoping that the Township Committee would stand up to the clinic and somehow, someway have it shut down.
As I expected and found out earlier today from talking to a few that were their and reading online accounts, those that govern the Township told those in attendance that nothing could be done, that the clinic is in it’s legal rights to be there and anything that the Township did to try and prevent the clinic from operating could possible lead to a very costly law suit that more than likely be decided against the Township.
When I asked if last night’s meeting was really as loud and crazy as it was made out to be by the online accounts from the redbankgreen.com and MiddletownPatch I was told “most definitely”. More raucous then some meetings from last year when the planned turf fields were being fought against by members of SONIC, LVGA and the Pop Warner Chargers of Trezza Field? Absolutely I was told. The reason being, which made a lot of sense, was because while SONIC, LVGA and the Chargers were against a proposed plan that hadn’t been implemented yet, the residents of Apple Brook development, who’s only way into and out of their neighborhood is directly past the methadone clinic, didn’t have a say into whether or not they wished to be living within walking distance of a clinic that distributes one dangerously addictive drug to stop the cravings of another and who’s clients have potential criminal records. And when you consider what could happen to the values of their homes because of the presence of the Middletown Medical clinic, I understood why.
So what’s their recourse? According to those on the Township Committee, the Municipal Attorney and Township Administrator not much, but I have heard talk that the residents are thinking of hiring lawyers in order to, somehow, force the town to take action or force the clinic to move, neither of which I think will be effective.
I’ve also heard word that residents may start picketing the clinic to draw more attention to it, which would then drive away those seeking treatment, that way the for-profit clinic may come to the conclusion that it wouldn’t be prudent for their bottom-line to continue operating at the location and move on their own.
I hope to have some audio of the meeting later this week for posting so that myself and others can hear how crazy it actually was.

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Filed under Birdsall Service Group, committee meeting, heroin, methadone clinic, Middletown Medical clinic, Middletown Patch, Middletown Township Committee, opiate addiction, RedBankGreen.com, treatment center