Exeter Township files appeal in fight over plans for drug treatment center

By Jennifer L. Henn - For Times Leader
Exeter Township resident Emmit Coolbaugh Jr. speaks at a recent township supervisors meeting where residents discussed plans for a drug treatment center in Harding. Township supervisors have now filed an appeal in Luzerne County Court to block what the developer claims is deemed approval for the center. - Bill Tarutis | For Times Leader

Exeter Township’s supervisors filed a formal appeal in Luzerne County Court on Friday attempting to block what doctor and developer Robert Dompkosky claims is his deemed approval to open a drug treatment facility in Harding.

Township Solicitor Gene Molino drafted and submitted the appeal, which will now be assigned to a judge for consideration. In it, he argues despite the township Zoning Hearing Board’s failure to hold a public hearing on Dompkosky’s request for a special zoning exception within the 60-day time limit mandated by state law, the zoning case deserves a hearing on its merits.

Dompkosky and his attorney, Bruce J. Phillips of Plains, claim the missed deadline means the doctor gets automatic approval.

Molino is also arguing a technicality — that because Dompkosky listed himself as applicant on the special exception request, and Wyoming Area School District Superintendent Janet Serino is listed as the owner of the property in question, the application is fatally flawed. At the time he made the request, Dompkosky hadn’t completed his purchase of the former elementary school. Now the land is owned by Sutton Creek Properties, a limited liability corporation created by the doctor.

Dompkosky plans to convert the former Sarah J. Dymond Elementary School to Sutton Creek Center for Change, a private, family-owned 50-bed residential addiction treatment center.

Exeter Township’s Zoning Hearing Board had scheduled a public hearing on the matter for Monday, but canceled it this week after Phillips said his client would not attend. Dozens of nearby residents, who earlier this month spoke out at a supervisors meeting, pledged to attend to have their concerns heard.

Exeter Township resident Emmit Coolbaugh Jr. speaks at a recent township supervisors meeting where residents discussed plans for a drug treatment center in Harding. Township supervisors have now filed an appeal in Luzerne County Court to block what the developer claims is deemed approval for the center.
https://www.timesleader.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/web1_TTL060518ExeterTwpMtg_2-6.jpgExeter Township resident Emmit Coolbaugh Jr. speaks at a recent township supervisors meeting where residents discussed plans for a drug treatment center in Harding. Township supervisors have now filed an appeal in Luzerne County Court to block what the developer claims is deemed approval for the center. Bill Tarutis | For Times Leader

By Jennifer L. Henn

For Times Leader