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November 20, 2015


2 Morris Lane

Residents have begun to voice opposition to the proposed inpatient eating disorder treatment center for adolescent girls at 2 Morris Lane. The Scarsdale Board of Trustees will take up the matter Nov. 24, the Tuesday before Thanksgiving.

Malibu-based Monte Nido, which operates other such facilities around the country as well as in Irvington, held an informational “coffee and conversation” at the Scarsdale Library Nov. 15. The proposed center will house up to eight girls between the ages of 12 and 18 on an inpatient basis. The company said the residents will be supervised by staff at all times and will continue their education at the expense of their home school districts.

Objections to the facility include lowering of property values and traffic concerns. In addition to all the usual NIMBY arguments, there have been the ridiculous fear-mongering suggestions that the “dangerous” teenage girl patients will be let loose in town.

We can think of at least three examples where group homes have moved into the community over the vociferous objections of neighbors. In every case, residents have grown accustomed to their new neighbors and the negative impact was not as imagined.

As noted in the story on page 1, a new facility such as this does not require a zoning variance pursuant to New York state’s 37-year-old Padavan Law, which allows a mental health facility servicing fewer than 14 patients to largely avoid local municipal approval so long as it meets state codes. Residents may officially voice their opposition, but there is little the village can do unless it can be proven there is an oversaturation of such facilities in the area or if an alternative location can be found within the municipality to host the facility.

The contemporary style home on the 2.13-acre property at 2 Morris Lane cannot be seen from the street. We can’t imagine traffic and the comings and goings of personnel would have much impact on the neighbors.

Let’s face it, eating disorders often afflict young women from the middle and upper classes. These patients could be young women from Scarsdale or a community like Scarsdale, and wouldn’t we want a place for them to be treated close to their home and families? Eating disorders are pernicious psychological disorders that can have life-threatening consequences. Recovery, which is the goal here, often requires team support from doctors, therapists, nutritionists as well as families.

The village was notified of Monte Nido’s intentions Oct. 28. Once a facility governed by the Padavan Law is made known to the municipality, the village has 40 days to file an official protest to it.

Let’s hope that will not be the case.

Giving thanks

“Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me,” written in 1955 by Sy Miller and Bill Jackson, continues as an anthem for promoting world peace in an ever more dangerous and unstable world. After the jihadist terrorist attacks in Paris last week, once again people everywhere are frightened and worried about the future.

Let peace begin with you anew this Sunday, Nov. 22, at 7 p.m. at the Scarsdale-Hartsdale Interfaith Clergy Association’s interfaith Thanksgiving service held this year at Shaarei Tikvah, 46 Fox Meadow Road. In this annual service, open to the public, Christian, Jewish and Muslim faith communities gather together in the spirit of communal thanksgiving and prayer.

As Americans anticipate coming together next Thursday in gratitude to share the abundance and bounty we have in this country and the blessings of family and friends, let’s support the clergy association’s comforting gesture of bridge-building and encouraging dialogue between religions. Let’s work in our own ways to find solutions to repairing this fractured world around us.

Read more local coverage of your hometown in this week’s issue of The Scarsdale Inquirer. Newsstand copies are available at several locations listed above, or subscribe today for convenient home delivery.

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