With necessary approvals in place, Mountainside work will now begin
NORTH CANAAN — The planned expansion of Mountainside Addiction Treatment Center on Canaan Road South (Route 7)is poised to begin, following the approval last week of modifications to a special permit granted in November.Designers have been working to fine-tune siting and other aspects of the 16-bedroom facility, as well as parking lot and drainage in consideration of setbacks and runoff from Canaan Mountain directly behind it.The original permit was issued with a list of conditions that were satisfied by this latest version of the construction plan. During a public hearing Jan. 9 held by the Planning and Zoning Commission (P&Z), Mountainside CEO Terry Dougherty said the current property and three recently purchased parcels to the north will be combined on the deed to meet a new 25-acre zoning minimum. The third lot was acquired more recently to allow leeway to avoid potential siting issues. The new, U-shaped building will be situated to the northeast of the existing main building. A parking lot for up to 40 vehicles will be installed northeast of that, above a winding driveway and existing trees that will shield it from view on Route 7. The number of spaces is dictated by zoning regulations, which use a formula based on the number of employees and offices associated with the lot.Engineer Dennis McMorrow said his directive from Mountainside was to preserve as much as possible the existing plants and trees, and to screen the front as heavily as possible. What will become a new main entry driveway splits first toward the original building, and then winds uphill into a wooded area. Large evergreens have already been planted near the road. The driveway will crown and drop back down before splitting toward the parking lot and a cul-de-sac at the entrance to the new building.The design aids in controlling runoff. The added impervious surfaces, such as roofs and the driveway, will be offset with permeable pavers used for the parking lot and loading dock; an underground water retention basin in the courtyard; and an open basin to the northwest, on the lowest portion of the property (behind the new sewer pump station). Several planned rock cuts will include retaining walls and rip rap, as deemed necessary to control and slow runoff. A 6- to 8-foot high berm will be built along the frontage. The existing and added plantings will soak up some of the runoff.An erosion and sedimentation control plan presented by McMorrow for the construction phase was deemed adequate by Zoning Enforcement Officer Ruth Mulcahy. Both she and Dougherty said the fire marshal concluded the driveway design allows for access for large emergency vehicles.A small contingent of neighbors to the north came to the hearing. Their concerns were mainly about what they might be able to see from their homes. Assurances that the wooded area to the north of the facility would remain intact were what they needed to hear.Overhead lighting in the parking lot and along the driveway will be shielded as required by zoning, to focus the light on the intended site.During the regular P&Z meeting that followed, four seated members voted unanimously to approve a draft motion written by Mulcahy. Dougherty told The Lakeville Journal construction would begin as soon as possible.