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White Plains Will Move To Dismiss Sunrise Detox Lawsuit

Sunrise Detox Center proposed a short-term, medically supervised detoxification center on 37 DeKalb Ave. last summer.
Sunrise Detox Center proposed a short-term, medically supervised detoxification center on 37 DeKalb Ave. last summer. Photo Credit: City of White Plains

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. – Lawyers for the City of White Plains will move for a dismissal of the lawsuit filed against it by Sunrise Detox Center, according to a report by the Journal News .

Last summer Sunrise Detox proposed to build a short-term, medically supervised detoxification center with up to 33 inpatient beds on 37 DeKalb Ave., the old site of the Nathan Nursing Home. In March, Damon Amadio, city building commissioner, ruled the proposal didn’t conform with local zoning , preventing the Common Council from taking any further action on the matter.

Soon after, Sunrise Detox filed a lawsuit claiming the city violated the Americans with Disabilities Act. The applicant claimed that the city has a duty to Sunrise to make “reasonable accommodations” under the Act, including “relaxing or not enforcing a zoning rule, waiving a policy, granting a use variance or special exception, construing a provision in the code favorable to the applicant, treating a use as permissible and making other types of exceptions.”

Even if the city found Sunrise White Plains is not a “community residence,” the applicant claims in its letter that the city should determine Sunrise White Plains is the “functional equivalent” of one.

Sunrise applied for the special permit to operate as a “community residence,” which would allow it to conform to the neighborhood zoning. However, Amadio found that the facility didn’t meet the state Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services’ (OASAS) definition of a “community residence,” which he said in a letter to the council is for people, “who are completing or have completed a course of treatment.”

The building department found that Sunrise falls into the category of “crisis services,” which Amadio wrote are provided early in the recovery process and typically last three to five days and include medically supervised withdrawal in either an inpatient or outpatient setting.

Therefore, Sunrise would be classified as a hospital or sanitaria, which wouldn't be permitted under zoning laws in the Carhart neighborhood.

The applicant could have appealed Amadio’s decision or applied for a variance with the Zoning Board of Appeals. Instead, it decided to sue the city.

The city will move to dismiss the suit May 30 before a federal judge, according to the Journal News report.

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