To the Editor:

I am writing in response to Mr. Rocco Coscio’s letter to the editor from last week’s [Dec. 15] edition of the Ridgefield Press. Mr. Coscio suggested that the addition of the Mountainside Drug and Alcohol Rehab Facility to the residential area of West Mountain could be a “win-win” for our town. I actually believe this would be a major lose-lose.

Mountainside/Artemis Partners is a for-profit company that will cater to a very elite clientele. The cost of a stay is estimated to be an astronomical $60,000 a month. This cost is way out of reach for the overwhelming majority of Ridgefielders. While Mountainside profits from strangers, the Ridgefielders who live near the facility will suffer substantial losses to their home values. For many, a person’s home is their largest investment. Changes to decades’ old residential zoning laws per Mountainside’s request would set an alarming precedent in all of our neighborhoods. Some Realtors have already seen a push back from buyers reluctant to purchase homes in the West Mountain area for fear of the long reaching effect of zone changes. In terms of tax revenue to our town, the benefits are negligible. This facility would be taxed very similarly to a residential home. Lastly, what happens when Mountainside goes out of business in the years ahead? Does the property decay? Why would we ever want to subject our beautiful town to such chaos and uncertainty? We should demand Planning and Zoning say no to any amendments or zone changes on Jan. 3 at the public hearing at ERMS.

Let’s instead launch community resources to help our residents (and those from other nearby towns) suffering from addiction. Our first selectman, Rudy Marconi, has been deeply and sincerely involved in this issue and I believe he is the right person to start this conversation, not an external, for-profit player, like Mountainside.

Patrick Neligan