ALLAMUCHY - A proposal to open a heroin addiction and eating disorder treatment center in Warren County is being met with opposition.
Hundreds of residents turned out for a meeting at Allamuchy Township School to voice their concerns about the proposal to open the treatment center in Panther Valley, a gated community section of Allamuchy.
Opponents have launched an online petition and website, listing crime, declining property values and zoning as a reason to not build the center.
“It’s not against a rehab center, it’s the zoning. The community was zoned to be single-family residential and also a farming community,” says Panther Valley resident Larry Darst.
Representatives for the center say that the public has nothing to worry about.
“Our patients stay on property. They live here and they can't even leave the property without staff,” says Dr. Kevin Wandler. “I don't see how crime is going to be an issue.”
Dr. Wandler is with Advanced Recovery Systems, the organization that wants to open its first voluntary treatment center in New Jersey in Panther Valley.
Statistics show that in rural Warren County in 2014, 50 percent of residents who admitted to abusing drugs used heroin or other opiates.
“We need something closer to this community. We want to have a healing place,” Wandler says.
An attorney for the land use board tells News 12 New Jersey that it will take some time before a decision on whether or not to approve the facility will be made.