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Sober Living Home Hearing Starts This Week

Some Hillsdale residents are concerned about a planned sober living home near George G. White Middle School.

Update: According to the meeting agenda posted on the Hillsdale website, the applicant's attorney has requested this be adjourned to the Dec. 18 meeting.

The Hillsdale Planning Board is scheduled to begin hearing a plan this week for a sober living home on Magnolia Avenue.

Residents and officials discussed the plan during their meeting last week, though council members were cautious not to share their own opinions on the issue. Some Hillsdale residents are concerned about the home because it's just a few houses away from George G. White Middle School.

"Our house is right next to the playground and we see the children there, unsupervised, all the time," Barbara Finnegan said.

The home will be for former addicts and "executive men" who have completed rehab programs and voluntarily stay there as they transition back into their lives, according to the home's owner, Donna Lally. There would be no court-ordered residents. She has proposed to have as many as four residents living in the upper portion of the two-family home, while she would live in the lower portion.

Officials said they were surprised to learn about the home when they received a brochure for it, Mayor Max Arnowitz said. 

The Magnolia Avenue home will not be the only group home in Hillsdale if it is approved. There are two for Alzheimers patients and another for former drug addicts, but officials said the site's proximity to the middle school warranted a review.

Lally previously told Patch location is ideal for a home like this because it is within walking distance for residents to run errands and use public transportation. She said she hoped residents would change their minds once hey learned more about the plan.

The Hillsdale Planning Board meets Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. in Borough Hall.

Have a question or news tip? Contact editor Jim Leggate at Jim.Leggate@patch.com, or find us on Facebook and Twitter. For news straight to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.

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