Crawford House Could Become a Residential Detox Treatment Facility
By Barbara A. Preston | January 5, 2023
Kevin Reisch and the Woodmont Treatment Center LLC asked the Montgomery Township Zoning Board at its December 22 meeting for a use variance in relation to a property at 362 Sunset Road — the former Crawford House.
A sketch of the former Crawford House on Sunset Road in Montgomery Township.
The applicants propose using two existing historic buildings on the 13-acre wooded property as a drug and alcohol treatment facility for men and women. “It would be a private health insurance facility. The individuals there — lawyers, doctors, engineers, pilots — would be there of their own accord. No one would be mandated to be there,”
Attorney Michael J. Lario Jr. told the zoning board on behalf of his clients. “They would be using their private insurance to reside and seek treatment at this residence.” Once the patients are there, they would not be allowed to “come and go” from the site. In other words, when they are there, they go through the detox and in-patient process and will be restricted to the building.
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The buildings at the former Crawford House site have sat empty since January 2021, when it closed. For more than 40 years, Crawford House (founded in 1978) had provided a comprehensive individualized program for women, aged 18 years and over, who were residents of New Jersey, homeless, indigent, and free from substance use for at least 14 days.
The Proposed Plan
Reisch, a resident of North Arlington, has a contract to purchase the former Crawford House. He is the owner of Daytop Village of NJ, which is based in Mendham, according to the zoning board application. He proposes major interior renovations to the building, costing between $500,000 and $1 million. Woodmont LLC would operate the proposed treatment center as a 22-bed detox and in-patient treatment residence. The application will be continued at the January 24 zoning board meeting.
Attorney Lario told the Zoning Board that Montgomery township was ahead of its time when it approved one of the state’s first treatment centers for drug and alcohol addiction. “In 1977, the township had approved a use variance for this site to allow a half-way house for women in recovery from the disease of addiction,” he said. “The Betty Ford Clinic, which put these facilities in the mainstream, didn’t open until 1982. I say that, because Montgomery Township was on the vanguard when it came to realizing the importance of these facilities.” “And way back then, it fought to have one of these facilities in its community. And I say fought because a neighbor appealed that approval, and Montgomery Township went to court to allow the approval to remain — and the township won.” That was for the establishment of the Crawford House.
Crawford House Closure
In 2015, Crawford House became part of the Daytop New Jersey network, which operated six adult and adolescent outpatient programs and two halfway houses including Crawford House. Daytop merged with ACENDA Integrated Health, based in Glassboro, in 2020. At the time, a source close to the story told The Montgomery News that, “Apparently the financial stresses that have long frustrated addiction recovery programs – principally, extremely low federal and state reimbursement rates – have become a much bigger problem during the pandemic, such that occupancy at Crawford House has fallen below 50 percent, making it basically impossible to keep the doors open.” The applicants are also asking for a waiver of the site plan review.