Treatment center gets Plainfield permit

For the Gazette
Thursday, April 14, 2016

PLAINFIELD –  The Zoning Board of Appeals voted unanimously Wednesday to issue a special permit to Freedom Healthcare of America for an alcohol and drug rehabilitation treatment facility planned for the former Academy at Swift River at 151 South St.

“You have done a great job addressing our concerns,” ZBA Chairman Dudley Williams told the company’s CEO and founder Brent Clements and its chief operating officer Reed Shandoff.

Because the property is partially in Cummington, that town’s zoning board will hold a hearing at 7 p.m. April 21 in the Community House.

Clements and Shandoff took turns answering questions from among the more than 40 residents who attended Wednesday’s meeting.

“The opioid crisis is increasing by the day and we have to do something to stop it,” Clements said. “We are excited about this project and entering into the New England area. A good majority of our calls come from New England and specifically from Massachusetts.” 

According to Clements, the company, which does business as Addiction Campuses of America, will invest between $2 million and $3 million dollars in the facility, and use all local contractors for renovations to the property and a local labor force to staff the facility.

“This will be a cross between a Ritz Carlton and a local community hospital,” Clements said. “Our clients will be staying with us up to 90 days and we will be housing them, feeding them, treating them on a daily basis.”

The center will serve between 100 and 120 residential adult clients who will be housed in existing dormitories and have round-the-clock care. None of the 80 to 100 staff will reside at the treatment center, Clements said.

Shandoff said that there are no plans for new structures or additions to any existing structures, though the company will be doing cosmetic improvements, cleanup and landscaping.

He also noted that there would be no significant change in traffic patterns when compared to the facility’s former use.

Addiction Campuses estimates that there will be 60 to 71 trips to the campus per day and Shandoff noted that the existing parking at the current property is well above what is needed.

“With regard to the impact on town facilities and services, we estimate our facility will be less burdensome than the previous tenant,” Shandoff said.

The company currently operates three treatment centers in Mississippi, Tennessee and Texas. 

Assistant Fire Chief David Alvord attended the meeting and said he expected no significant increase in the need for emergency services.

“We reached out to the fire department in two of the towns where you are located and they were very positive about your facilities. That was very encouraging to hear,” Alvord said.

Brenda Light, who lives a mile and a half from the site, said she had some concerns about the safety of residents and property and asked about security for the facility.

“None of our campuses have armed security. We don’t feel the need to do that,” Clements said.

Shandoff added, “We have staff on 24/7 and they are there to make sure the clients are where they should be.”

Clements said that if all goes as planned, they hope to open the treatment center in October of this year.

“We already have a contract with the current owners,” he said but declined to say how much they paid for the property until the deal is completed. He did say that the asking price was $5 million.

“I think this is a great project, I think it is going to be good for Plainfield, and I think this is a much-needed facility,” abutter Tim Walter said.

Fran Ryan can be reached at Fryan.gazette@gmail.com.