Proposed rehab sparks debate in Herrick


Despite being held just prior to the July 4 holiday, there were no fireworks at the Monday, July 2, Herrick Twp. supervisors’ meeting over a drug treatment center looking to locate in the township.

Owners of the Just Believe Recovery Center in Carbondale are looking to purchase the Stone Bridge Inn in Herrick. Supervisor Eliot Ross is an owner of the inn and – following several public meetings – has removed himself from any discussion about the facility.

In order to operate a drug treatment facility at the site, the township’s planning commission would have to grant its approval for the conditional use.

At the supervisors’ meeting, one audience member asked correspondence received by the township both in favor and opposed to the facility.

About 30 people had voiced questions or concerns, while three had offered support.

In opposition, several area residents spoke of the resort nature of the community – nestled near Elk Mountain Ski Resort. Some also said they expected property values to decline if a residential treatment facility was located near their homes.

Two vacancies on the township planning commission were filled at the July 2 meeting, with Sue Procter and Jennifer Burman being named to fill those slots. A third, temporary person was selected to serve on the planning commission for the Stone Bridge Inn application only.

Supervisor Chair Nancy Harvatine read letters from attorney Michael O’Brien, representing some township residents opposed to the facility.

An Endless Mountains Resort property owner said, in a letter to the township, that a drug treatment facility would harm the value of his property and claimed it did not meet the goals set forth in the comprehensive plan.

Another resident said the proposed change in use was not a “good fit” for the community and residents of the resort were afraid it would lead to an increase in crime in the area.

Ross’ mother, a psychologist, offered support for the facility stating the peaceful setting would be an excellent site for those in recovery and said residents should be more fearful of those that don’t seek treatment.

Another public meeting on the matter is scheduled to be held on July 19.

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