North Castle Town Board Objects To Proposed Teen-Depression Center

ARMONK, N.Y. -- The North Castle Town Board was met with loud applauses from residents on Wednesday night when it unanimously approved a formal objection to a proposed treatment center for teen depression and anxiety at a mansion in Armonk.

A mansion at 14 Cole Drive in Armonk, pictured, is the site for a proposed teen-depression treatment center.
A mansion at 14 Cole Drive in Armonk, pictured, is the site for a proposed teen-depression treatment center. Photo Credit: Tom Auchterlonie

In a resolution, the board argued that there is an overconcentration of similar facilities in and near town. The objection was done pursuant to the state's Padavan Law governing mental-health centers. 

The board's objection does not necessarily spell the end of the proposed center, as the Padavan Law allows for Paradigm to appeal the vote to the state commissioner of mental health, who would then rule on whether to approve the project.

Board members also unanimously approved a declaratory resolution, which argues that the Padavan Law does not apply to the proposed center. Before the vote, Supervisor Michael Schiliro argued that the law is not applicable because the center would only house transient people, who would stay from 30 to 45 days. In contrast, the supervisor argued that the spirit of the law is meant to only cover people who are permanently residing in covered facilities. 

The site for the proposed facility is located at 14-16 Cole Drive, which is in a residential neighborhood. The property would be managed by California-based Paradigm Treatment Centers. The center would treat eight patients from ages 12 to 17 and have up to 10 staffers working on three shifts per day, a representative previously noted. 

The declaratory resolution blasted Paradigm for how it handled the town's review process and public comments, citing a broken promise to submit environmental impact materials - they include studies for traffic and septic impacts - by December. The materials were not submitted until the proverbial 11th hour.

The declaratory resolution, which states that "Paradigm has proceeded in a disingenuous manner," also argues the company has not demonstrated a need for its center in the area, and that the facility would alter community character. 

New York Life CEO Theodore Mathas owns the property through a personal company called Crossroads Farm, LLC, records show.

Mathas' company and Paradigm entered into a two-year lease that took effect last September, according to public records, which includes an option to buy the property for $5.65 million. The option expires on Feb. 28, 2018, according to records.

The project has been aggressively opposed by a group of residents, who formed an entity called the Davis Pond Conservancy. Residents blasted the project at an hours-long meeting on Nov. 30, citing concerns about traffic, the potential for septic failure that would taint the water supply and fears that the center would treat teenagers with drug addictions.

Paradigm, which treats substance abuse at some of its California facilities, denied that this would be the case in Armonk, an assertion that residents did not trust. The doubts expressed by residents were due to a disclosure from Paradigm that some patients would have "secondary" abuse,  a situation in which drugs or alcohol are consumed as a coping mechanism for their underlying problems. 

The board's concerns were largely similar to resident Terence McLaughlin, who voiced them at the meeting on behalf of his neighbors shortly before the votes were taken.

Asked for comment following the votes, McLaughlin said he was "satisfied and pleased."

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