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Woodmont Treatment Center Withdraws Plans for Monty Detox Facility

By Barbara A. Preston | Posted April 26, 2023

Woodmont Treatment Center, LLC and Kevin Reisch withdrew their application from consideration by the Montgomery Township Zoning Board on April 25. They had wanted to put a residential detox facility in the former Crawford House property at 362 Sunset Road in Montgomery, but they needed a zoning variance.

Crawford House was a 23-bed halfway house on Sunset Road in Montgomery Township for homeless women recovering from substance abuse. It closed in January 2021.

The Montgomery Township planning office received a letter from the applicant’s attorney asking to formally cancel the application. The attorney also asked for any money remaining in the existing escrow account to be returned. They did not give a reason for canceling.

Local residents had made it clear during several public hearings that they did not want a 22-bed detox center in their backyards — citing multiple reasons. About 40 neighbors had attended multiple meetings to object to the application.

Safety was a main concern, according to Janet Church, who sent an email to The Montgomery News presenting the neighbor’s concerns.

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Crawford House was started in 1978, before housing was built around it. Now there are family homes right up to the property line, she says. The facility is also within walking distance of Montgomery schools.

For more than 40 years, Crawford House 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.

Based on the 12-step model, Crawford House provided physical, emotional, and spiritual healing for women in a safe and mutually-supportive community. It also provided women with the education, treatment, and knowledge of how to use community support systems so they could achieve and maintain a substance-free lifestyle, according to the facility’s website.

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. ACENDA closed the facility.

Kevin Reisch and the Woodmont Treatment Center LLC —the applicants — proposed using two existing historic buildings on the 13-acre wooded property as a drug and alcohol detox 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 at the December meeting. “They would be using their private insurance to reside and seek treatment at this residence.”

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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.

The buildings at the former Crawford House site have sat empty since January 2021, when it closed.

The Proposed Plan

Reisch, a resident of North Arlington, had a contract to purchase the former Crawford House. He is the owner of Daytop Village of NJ, based in Mendham, according to the zoning board application. He proposed major interior renovations to the building, costing between $500,000 and $1 million.

Woodmont LLC, an eight-month-old limited-liability company created on May 3, 2022 by Tyler Kempson of Sparta, would have operated the proposed treatment center as a 22-bed detox and in-patient treatment residence. Woodmont is contended that because its proposal is a preexisting use, no formal application for use variance is required under state land use law.

Janet Church and the neighbors disagreed. Church said: “There are an enormous number of empty commercial properties in more suitable areas in the state of New Jersey — even within [Montgomery] Township.”


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