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Oneida County Planning and Zoning rejects permit for GLITC's Adolescent Recovery and Wellness Center

Oneida County Planning and Zoning meeting on April 3rd, 2024
Hannah Davis-Reid
Oneida County Planning and Zoning meeting on April 3rd, 2024

At Wednesday’s Oneida County Planning and Development meeting, the committee members voted to reject the Great Lakes Inter-Tribal Council’s conditional use permit.

They applied for a permit for a 36-bed Adolescent Recovery and Wellness Center in Cassian.

For the past several months, plans by the Great Lakes Inter-Tribal Council (GLITC) for an Adolescent Recovery and Wellness Center in Cassian have been under debate.

In September, the town of Cassian passed a resolutionopposing the construction of the center.

In January, the Planning and Zoning Committee was set to decide on the center’s conditional use permit (CUP), but ultimately they decided to extend the review period for another 180 days.

On Wednesday, the committee met again and decided unanimously to reject the conditional use permit for GLITC’s Adolescent Recovery and Wellness Center.

Before their vote, they opened the floor to public comments and Patty Francoeur spoke as the chair of the town board of Cassian.

“We are a rural community. We understand growth is inevitable. But we want the right to say where and what that should be and how it will impact not only our town, but our neighboring communities,” she said.

After public comments, the committee questioned Bryan Bainbridge, CEO of GLITC, and his team about their concerns regarding the CUP.

GLITC CEO Bryan Bainbridge clarified that local school districts would not be burdened by the center since schooling would remain the responsibility of the young person’s home district.

Committee chair Scott Holewinski voiced concerns that property values would drop as a result of the center, which GLITC refuted.

However, Holewinski dismissed the study based in Seattle that GLITC provided as counter-evidence.

“So in my opinion, again, the applicant failed to supply sufficient evidence to set by standard B. The result that they show was Seattle, Washington. It isn't comparable to Cassian,” said Holewinski.

Explaining his vote against the CUP, Scott Holewinski said-

“One of the major things in there is the property values in the area. And the property values are going to go down because we allow this. So I think that's a major part of denying the CUP.”

Committee members had repeated concerns that GLITC could eventually transfer their property into a sovereign trust, but GLITC representatives explained that that was not a possibility the group could pursue since they are a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.

This is President Shannon Holsey of the Stockbridge-Munsee Band of Mohican Indians.

“You have to remember, sovereign immunity is “of the sovereign”, you're talking about 12 tribal nations that are involved in this project. So there wouldn't even be continuity to the involvement of whose sovereign immunity it was,” she explained.

The committee members were concerned that property values would drop as a result of the center and said it doesn’t fit the land use plan of the town.

Ultimately, they unanimously agreed to reject the CUP, saying the project didn’t meet their general standards and that GLITC failed to prove that the center wouldn’t negatively affect Cassian residents.

Bainbridge told WXPR that his team would “reassess and move forward” because “it’s too important of a project to not”.

Representatives from the town of Cassian declined to talk to WXPR after the meeting.

Hannah Davis-Reid is a WXPR Reporter.
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