Mental Health and Residential Facility Raises Residents' Concerns

The Middle Road Turnpike facility was a hot topic at the Zoning Commission meeting.


Patricia Jones carries mace and a whistle when she walks in her yard. Bill Hubert's daughter will not walk down the 250-foot driveway to get the mail. Leslie Gamsjager said her children witnessed residents engaging in lewd behavior near .

Jones, Hubert and Gamsjager attended the Tuesday, April 10, Zoning Commission meeting and shared their experiences with , located at 280 Middle Road Turnpike.

The property was on the for a review of Greenland Properties/David Palmer as the potential new owner/tenant seeking to run a mental health/residential facility at 280 Middle Road Turnpike.

The agenda notes that the mental health/residential facility is similar to the current Premier Care of Woodbury facility at the site. Zoning Commission Chairman Martin Overton recommended the applicant fill out an application.

"If a special permit needs to be granted, then we need to go to the public hearing process," said Overton.

During public comments, Robert Kolesnik provided some background on the property. He said in 2007, a public hearing on changing the use from an elderly care facility to a mental health/residential facility did not take place.

Overton confirmed that the situation was dealt with administratively in the and not brought before the Zoning Commission for a decision. The residents who spoke against Premier Care of Woodbury said they do not want to see a repeat of 2007.

"I think a public hearing is essential to see whether or not this can continue," said Kolesnik.

His parents live on Middle Road Turnpike and he said he is familiar with what Jones, Hubert and Gamsjager have gone through. Gamsjager said she wants the facility to revert back to a home for the elderly.

"It's a burden on the neighborhood," she said. "It's compromised my family's safety and the safety of all the children, for a number of reasons."

She said Premier Care of Woodbury occupants are allowed to roam around town and walk to the local liquor stores. She said she has seen them in the woods near Nonnewaug High School and noted that people have filed complaints with the Woodbury Police Department.

"The fact that this facility is a half-mile from the high school -- it's beyond my belief that that is allowed," said Gamsjager.

Jones said that at the advice of police, she put up "No Trespassing" signs on her property. The residents ripped them down, she said. Jones said she had a full craniotomy and part of her therapy is gardening. When she is in her yard, she said the Premier Care of Woodbury residents call her names and she is heckled by aides.

"All I know is I live on the border and I am scared to death," she said.

Zoning Commission Chairman Overton said the commissioners would have to be careful when reviewing any possible future applications and only discuss what the Zoning Commission has jurisdiction over.

Patch left a message with Sgt. Joseph Roden. The potential applicant could not be reached as of the most recent posting. Patch will update the story upon receipt of new information.

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Donna Dreska May 01, 2012 at 05:34 PM
I'd like to know why the residents are allowed to roam around off property unsupervised? Curious to know what the outcome was of that zoning meeting...
Jaimie Cura May 01, 2012 at 11:37 PM
Hi Donna, The chairman of the Zoning Commission recommended the applicant fill out an application. I don't know if that's occurred but I'll call the land use office tomorrow.
Jaimie Cura May 03, 2012 at 09:12 PM
Hi again, Donna. I called the land use office and an application was filed. The Zoning Commission's next meeting is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 8, in the Shove Conference Room.


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