- By Dan Veaner
The Alcohol & Drug Council of Tompkins County announced February 11th that they had secured a site for the first 7 days/week and a medically-supervised detox and stabilization facility in Tompkins County to provide access for addiction treatment services. The 19,420 square foot building will house 40 beds at its 2353 N. Triphammer Road in the Village of Lansing location. Villagers who live near the proposed facility on Graham Road were at the Village trustees meeting Monday to air their concerns.
"I'm concerned with the safety of my property," Graham Road resident Gene Caraccilo said. "I'm concerned about the valuation of my house. I also hear it will have 40 beds, which doesn't make me very happy, to have people walking around the neighborhood that don't belong there."
Caraccilo speculated that patients at the facility wouldn't be restricted to the building during their stay, and said he is concerned about the number of beds anticipated. he said a fence separating the facility from the neighborhood would not be a positive addition to the character of the neighborhood.
Mayor Donald Hartill said he is monitoring the situation very carefully and promised to keep Carosello up to date on the project. But he said that because the type of proposed facility is an 'allowed use' according to the Village zoning ordinance, there is little Village officials can do to stop it.
"It's classified, basically, as a hospital," Hartill said. "A hospital is a permitted use in that area, so we can't do very much about it. When it comes time for a building permit, which they would have to have to install beds, then we can be much more serious. Until that happens we don't have much traction."
Graham Road resident Kip Cerasaro said he is also concerned about safety in his neighborhood. He said his three small children frequently play in the neighborhood, and worried that an apartment complex adjacent to his property might become a half way house for patients released from the rehabilitation facility. He said there are enough problems already with the apartment property.
He read from an email he sent to Tompkins County legislator Deborah Dawson (Villages of Lansing and Cayuga Heights) asking for answers to a myriad of questions about patients in the facility and how they will be monitored.
"What happens when a person checks out?" Cerasaro wrote. "Can someone check out before treatment ends? Does the center provide supervised release of the people that are checked in? Will they be permitted to walk the neighborhood without supervision? What happens if a person wants to leave before successfully completing treatment?"
Hartill said that he has concerns about the facility causing a need for additional police coverage. The Village of Lansing relies on the County Sheriff's Office and New York State Police for law enforcement, because it has no police force of its own. Hartill has resisted incurring the expense of a village police force for decades, and implied that if the county facility increases crime in the area, the County should also police it.
"I am going to register those concerns with The County Legislature Chair (Martha Robertson)," Hartill said. "I'll meet with her on Friday and my expectation is that there has to be a quid pro quo in terms of better sheriff coverage. I'll make sure that happens. I am not about to spend our taxpayers' money putting in a police force. So there, in a nutshell, is where I stand."