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 Methadone clinic representatives sue Township of Bloomfield

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lilgirllost
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PostSubject: Methadone clinic representatives sue Township of Bloomfield   Wed Jul 27, 2011 9:02 am

Methadone clinic representatives sue Township of Bloomfield


BLOOMFIELD - A methadone clinic barred by the township from practicing its services in 2007 has elected to sue the township and several officials.

The four-count civil suit, field June 15, alleges that Bloomfield allowed American Counseling Center, Inc. to begin operating a methadone clinic yet later pulled the certificate of occupancy. The council later voted to uphold the ban.

Methadone is a drug used to prevent withdrawal symptoms in heroin addicts and other opiate drug users enrolled in treatment programs. The clinic, formally located at 14-20 Watsessing Ave., drew heavy criticism from residents, especially in the township's Watsessing section.

"This complete prohibition of a commercial entities (sic) core business in the township will never survive legal scrutiny in light of the prior case law addressing exclusionary zoning," the lawsuit states.

"As a direct and proximate result of defendants' actions, ACC (American Counseling Center) cannot provide to its disabled clientele the services which it is duly licensed by the State of New Jersey to perform while permitting other uses and services for other, non-disabled clientele."

The lawsuit claims a Bloomfield ordinance established a zone for the treatment/counseling center from December 2006 to June 2007. The council then imposed a complete ban on the clinic that June, the suit states.

The township then revoked the counseling center's certificate of occupancy despite its objections.

Earlier this year, the council informed counseling center representatives that their certificate would be reinstated; instead, the ban was upheld, the suit alleges.

Jeffrey Randolph, an attorney representing the counseling center, did not immediately return a message left at his Glen Rock office July 26. Township Attorney Brian Aloia did not return an email seeking comment.

The lawsuit names the Township of Bloomfield and "present" council members Janice Maly (now Litterio), Nicholas Joanow, Robert Ruane, Peggy O'Boyle Dunigan, Michael Venezia, Patricia Richings (sic, Ritchings) and Bernard Hamilton (Ritchings has not served on the council since 2008). Township employees Anthony Marucci (a zoning official), Director of Community Development Glenn Dominick (sic, Domenick) and planning and zoning board attorney Michael Ruben (sic, Rubin) are also listed.

The suit, officially titled American Counseling Center, Inc. et al., v. Township of Bloomfield, et al, demands unspecified damages and a trial by jury.



This comes from a NEW JERSEY paper NorthJersey.com and the original article link is



http://www.northjersey.com/news/126220078_Methadone_clinic_representatives_sue_Township_of_Bloomfield.html


RuthAnn
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