Why have we formed?
A for-profit company is requesting a zoning variance that would allow the operation of a 20+ bed for profit drug rehabilitation facility at 181 Bay Ave. The applicant will argue that this facility is a "beneficial use" and will have no detrimental impact on our community or our downtown business district. While we agree that drug/alcohol treatment facilities are beneficial to society and our community, placing this particular facility at this specific geographic location in our community poses many health and safety issues.
- Beneficial use? Only if you are one of the fortunate few who can afford exorbitant monthly fees and do not rely on Medicare or Medicaid. This will be a for profit facility, which according to documentation the applicant has provided will cost up to $10k for 5 to 7 days of detox and will only take private insurance or cash payments. The company has selected this property because it aligns to their "Beach spa/resort" -style image used to justify their outrageous fees. This facility will have limited impact on our Highlands Borough residents!
- No impact on our community? No one who shops, eats, or lives on Bay Ave. is going to be unaffected by the 24x7 traffic and the additional parking burden this new use will create. This variance requires a total of 39 parking spaces according to our borough engineering study, where only 1 is to be provided on site. A curb cut is requested as well in order to facilitate deliveries, potentially further reducing on street parking. The applicant has not produced any type of contract for offsite parking in their application.
- This site is particularly well suited for this use? As this location is entirely in a flood zone (finished floor 6.59'), It will need to be evacuated for every hurricane or flooding event. For reference, hurricane sandy saw over 11' of floodwater at this location and was closed for all non-residents for over 15 days. The construction plans have not gone through a Flood Plain review but as all residents know, one cannot construct new living space below the base flood elevation of 11'. Housing patients on the 1st floor of this facility (as proposed) will leave them under water and virtually inaccessible in the next flood event. This is why our borough has moved our police/fire/administration to higher ground. This location will put additional strain on our community resources and places the patients residing at the facility at serious risk.
- No impact on our resources? We have a volunteer first aid squad and are over 25 minutes to the closest hospital in the summer months. Our 1st aid squad is already spread almost impossibly thin and will not be able to handle this additional responsibility. We have a mutual aid agreement with Rumson, NJ to handle our overflow--Will they be able to handle this increased responsibility?
- What are we doing about it? We win by hiring legal counsel and experts who can counter the applicant's representation of the impact on our community and give the land use board information to justify denying this variance.
- Your donation to fight this WILL BE LESS than what it will cost in increased property taxes and decreased property values if we lose. Your contributions on this site will fund the expenses to hire counsel EVERY DONATION HELPS AND SHOWS THE RESOLVE OF THOSE WHO CARE ABOUT HIGHLANDS!
Who are we? The Highlands Action Committee, a not-for-profit 501c(4) organization, formed by concerned residents of Highlands, NJ.
Are your donations tax-deductible? No. While we are a non-profit 501c(4) formed for the public benefit, we do not qualify as a charitable organization.
Can you join? We welcome all who want to partner with us in this cause. Just contact us via this website. ANYONE CAN DONATE!
Can I just write a check or Donate Cash? Yes! Please make check payable to "Highlands Action Committee" Mail to: 246 Bayside Drive, Highlands, NJ 07732