Just Because They Say It Doesn’t Make It True
We are deeply troubled by Fox Hill Real Estate’s (FHRE) recent announcement that they will open up a rehab facility in a residential neighborhood without town approval. After being told by the town on February 2nd that their facility could not go in at Fox Hill, they are now trying to circumvent our local zoning ordinance and comprehensive plan by suddenly renaming the facility.
Let’s review the facts:
Originally, FHRE requested a zoning change to open a commercial rehabilitation facility at Fox Hill. Now they say they don’t need the change because Maine state law allows a “community living facility” for up to eight disabled persons anywhere in town.
Originally, they said they would have 10-14 patients, now they say they will have 8 “residents.”
Originally, they said they would have 25-30 employees (although they never promised to employ any Camden residents), now they say they will have only a 10% reduction in staff.
Originally they said they would charge $60,000/month for treatment, now they will charge $60,000 a month for “rent.”
Originally, they admitted traffic would increase on the narrow road to over 48 additional trips a day, now with barely a reduction in staff, the public safety hazard remains unchanged.
Originally, they promised to pay the town an equivalent property-tax fee, now it may be taken off the tax rolls if transferred to the non-profit McLean.
In short, nothing has changed. Except the investors, lawyers and consultants hired by Fox Hill are now doing an end-run around Camden voters and zoning laws by calling an apple an orange. For all their complaints over the past two months about the democratic process and voters’ rights being usurped, rather than sending this issue to vote, they are silencing every voice in Camden—and asking us to thank them for it.
FHRE claims this tactic will avert a divisive town process, but unfortunately for our beautiful town, that’s a lie. The Dunes in Long Island, New York used this same tactic four years ago and is now operating a large commercial enterprise smack in the middle of a residential neighborhood. Here is a link to the citizens’ coalition opposed to the commercial enterprise: http://www.exposethedunes.com/. Here is a link the Dunes website which describes their services. They also initially applied as a “community living arrangement”: http://theduneseasthampton.com/
The Dunes is also staffed by a Harvard-affiliated operator.
The fact is, this group of lawyers, investors and consultants will never give up because they are backed by a powerful corporation that seeks to make money in Camden—lots of it. They will say and do anything for money, including changing their identity when convenient.
If FHRE’s intent were to locate eight disabled people in a single family residence to work and live together, and be accountable to each other on the path to recovery, we wouldn’t object to that. But they have made their intentions very clear over the past year. With a staff to resident ratio of 3:1, a “rent” of $60,000 per month, this is clearly not a community living arrangement. To imply such is absurd, and a shameful distortion of our federal and state laws, for their personal financial gain. FHRE’s clear intent is to open a commercial enterprise in a residential neighborhood—an activity that remains strictly prohibited by our zoning laws.
Just because they say so does not make it true. We intend to question this disingenuous identity and challenge their attempt to circumvent the law.
Citizens of Camden for Responsible Zoning