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The former Sweet Brook Care Centers is being considered for a behavioral facility. The nursing home was shut down a year ago after allegations of abuse and neglect.
Updated May 19, 2022 07:51AM

Planned Chemical Dependency Center Headed to Williamstown Zoning Board

By Stephen DravisiBerkshires Staff
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Williamstown's community development director Thursday morning reported that the hearing on the application from Williamstown Recovery Realty LLC likely will be postponed to the ZBA's June 16 meeting.
 
WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — A vacant Cold Spring Road property could have new life if the Zoning Board of Appeals gives the go-ahead on Thursday night in June.
 
Williamstown Recovery Realty LLC will be before the board seeking a special permit to operate an inpatient behavioral health-care facility at 1561 Cold Spring Road (Route 7), at the site of the former Sweet Brook Care Centers.
 
The Woodmere, N.Y.,-based applicant is seeking a special permit to operate on the site. Section 70-3.3 of the town code requires special permits for a "nursing home or other medical institution" in all parts of town where they are permissible.
 
Throughout its written application to the board, Williamstown Recovery emphasizes that its proposed use of the former nursing home site will be largely the same from a regulatory standpoint.
 
"Our intended use as an inpatient chemical dependency/co-occurring disorder treatment facility will fall under the same use as the previous nursing home and will not require any change the current utilities," the application reads in part. "No utility extensions would be required."
 
Likewise, the application explains that Williamstown Recovery plans no changes to the exterior of the current building, though it does intend to make aesthetic changes on the inside to "make it feel warmer, and less institutional for our patients' comfort."
 
On one key standard that often features prominently into the ZBA's deliberations, Williamstown Recovery argues that, per the bylaw, "the general neighborhood [would] not be negatively affected by impacts" of its proposed operation.
 
"The current property is situated on over 14 acres, providing adequate distance from surrounding properties and a private campus for patients," the application reads. "Our intended use will provide much needed services to the local and surrounding communities which are lacking these types of treatment programs."
 
On another metric, the proposed chemical dependency treatment center would have less of an impact than the former nursing home, the applicant claims.
 
According to the application, Williamstown Recovery would have a first-year patient census of 20 people per month who would be served by about 21 staff members -- far below the population served at Sweet Brook, thus lowering the amount of vehicular traffic at the site.
 
"While our census and staff will likely increase over time, it is unlikely that we will operate at full capacity," the application reads. "Traffic will include employees coming to and from work, as well as families/loved ones dropping off or picking up patients for admission or discharge."
 
 
The Zoning Board of Appeals will meet in person to consider other matters on Thursday at 7 p.m. at Town Hall; the meeting will be available electronically via the town's Zoom account or for viewing on WilliNet.

Tags: ZBA,   health care,   

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Williamstown Tea, Shake Spot Reopens Friday with New Owners

By Stephen DravisiBerkshires Staff

The beverage shop offers indoor seating. 
WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — Spring Street's newest entrepreneur is new to business ownership but not new to the business of making healthy, refreshing beverages.
 
Logan Lamphere and her mother, Christina, took over Unlimited Nutrition at 31 Spring St. last week, and on Friday, they will hold their grand re-opening of Williamstown's home for "Good Vibes and Great Nutrition."
 
"I work at another nutrition club in New York state near my home," Logan said this week. "Jackie [Therrien] and Kenzie [Huntoon], who were the owners of Unlimited Nutrition, reached out to the owners of that [New York] club and said, 'We can't do this anymore.'
 
"My bosses reached out to me and said, 'We're not sure if you're ever interested in owning a nutrition club, but this is a great opportunity.' "
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