STATEN ISLAND — A planned drug addiction treatment center in Port Richmond is being opposed by neighbors who claim the neighborhood is crime ridden and already saturated with social services.
Staten Island's Community Board 1 voted Tuesday to write a letter in opposition of the planned expansion of a center run by Camelot, which wants to build a 35-bed facility for clients as part of a state-funded renovation of its 263 Port Richmond Ave. site.
The board — with two members abstaining — voted to disapprove the plan.
"There are 63 communities on Staten Island and only three of them have the bulk of the social services," Beryl Thurman, president of the North Shore Waterfront Conservatory who's been fighting against the project, said at the meeting.
"It’s time that the other communities on Staten Island step up to the plate and do their fair share."
In January, Camelot announced plans to renovate its treatment center at Port Richmond funded by the New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS), which also gave the group $1 million for operational costs.
A spokeswoman for OASAS previously told DNAinfo New York that they chose the spot because of its proximity to public transportation. Camelot has been there since 1972.
Luke Nasta, executive director of Camelot, said that he agreed that the neighborhood had too many social services, but his has been in the area for years without problems.
"I have no quarrel with the committee and the board that services should be spread out through Staten Island," he said.
"All we're doing is continuing the use of a building we've been using."
Nasta said his group has previously tried to put other sites around the borough in the past, but was blocked by the community.
With Staten Island in the throes of a drug epidemic — suffering the highest rate of heroin and prescription drug overdoses in the city — elected officials previously lauded Camelot's plan.
"I am proud to have helped to secure this critical funding for a new residential treatment program at Camelot so that more Staten Islanders who are struggling with addiction can get the help they need," state Sen. Andrew Lanza said in a statement.
Nasta said that all communities across the borough should be pitching in to help and the borough could use more services to deal with the problem.
"There's needs to be more of everything in the borough," Nasta said. "There is an epidemic that needs to be grappled with on the level of an epidemic."
The community launched a similar fight last year after Saint Joseph's Medical Center announced plans to build a new mental health facility at 108-110 Port Richmond Ave. Residents and elected officials rallied against that plan, which was also voted down by Community Board 1.
The board acts in an advisory capacity for elected officials on plans like this.