WEST STOCKBRIDGE -- A New York development firm is planning to turn the Williamsville Inn into a residential drug treatment center for adolescents.
James Foy and Clay Lifflander, who own and operate Hudriv Investments of Dobbs Ferry, N.Y., have a purchase and sale agreement to acquire the Route 41 property.
They are scheduled to appear before the Zoning Board of Appeals at 7 p.m. June 10 in Town Hall for a hearing on their request for a special permit.
According to the executive summary of the project presented to abutters and the town, the facility will host about 16 clients at a time with a license for up to 20 between the ages of 13 and 17. Boys and girls will be housed separately, with group therapy sessions in single gendered groups.
The facility will be a private pay, private placement, adolescent-only center. The typical length of stay will be between three and four months, with a minimum stay of two months and a maximum of six.
Staffing will be 24 hours, seven days a week. The facility expects to hire a staff of about 40.
"The supervision will be pretty tight here. Bed checks will be every 15 to 20 minutes at night," Lifflander said. "We want to be good neighbors."
But several neighbors believe that a substance-abuse facility will be a significant change to the rural aspect of the neighborhood, which the town's zoning addresses.
Lifflander said he understands their trepidations.
"I've met with some of the neighbors already," he said. "I understand if they have issues. But we're not taking anyone from the juvenile justice system, we're not taking anyone on Medicaid. This is a private placement facility. I think fears that this will be detrimental are overblown."
He emphasized that the facility "does not do detox. We're not a medical facility."
Kanee Wendt, current owner of the inn, said she believes that, counter to some residents' beliefs, the traffic will be less after the center opens.
"In the summer, we had 40 guests at the inn most weekends," she said. "At the center, there will be 15-20 kids here. I think the traffic won't be an issue."
The inn was originally a home completed in 1797 on a 300-acre farm by a Revolutionary War soldier. The Williamsville Inn, which opened in 1952, has been on the market for several years. It has been closed since December, Wendt said, but it continues to honor any reservations made for this summer.
Planned renovations, described as minimal, will be code compliant. The center will be licensed and regulated by the Massachusetts Department of Health's Bureau of Substance Abuse Services.
Town administrator Mark Webber said the application already has drawn considerable curiosity from abutters and residents. His office has received almost a dozen e-mails and letters about the project.
Foy was recently CEO of Riverside Health Care Systems for 17 years. Lifflander served as president of Millbrook Capital in New York City.
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