Firm proposes recovery center at Pleasantville Shopping Center

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The owner of the largest shopping center in Pleasantville has applied for a change of use approval from the Planning Board to turn a portion of its facility into a addiction recovery center./R.J. Liberatore Jr. The owner of the largest shopping center in Pleasantville has applied for a change of use approval from the Planning Board to turn a portion of its facility into a addiction recovery center./R.J. Liberatore Jr. PLEASANTVILLE _ The owner of the city’s largest shopping center has applied for a change of use approval from the Pleasantville Planning Board to turn a portion of its facility into a addiction recovery center. Apple Farm, LLC., the owner of the Pleasantville Shopping Center, will make its case before the Planning Board during the organization’s next meeting at 7 p.m., Tuesday, March 4.

Planning Board meetings are held in the Municipal Courtroom, inside the Pleasantville Police Conference, 17 N. First St.

Apple Farm wants to change the use of approximately 20,000 square feet or about 10 percent of the shopping center, to permit the John Brooks Recovery Center to operate there, according to a public notice posted by Nicholas F. Talvacchia, an attorney representing Apple Farm.

Because of the change of use, the project requires minor site plan approval and site plan waivers, Talvacchia said in the request.

If approved, the John Brooks Recovery Center would offer services which could include medical care, counseling, treatment and the dispensing of prescription medicines, including without limitation, methadone and similar medicines.

Apple Farms is also requesting any other variances, waivers, interpretations or exceptions that the Planning Board would deem appropriate.

The project is located within Pleasantville’s RC zone where regionally oriented commercial and service activities are permitted uses.

The medical office facility is a permitted use as a professional office under the definition of regionally oriented commercial and service activities under the current land use ordinance, Talvacchia said.

The eastern section of the Pleasantville Shopping Center has been vacant since an area charter school closed a few years ago. Prior to that, the eastern end housed a discount supermarket./R.J. Liberatore Jr. The eastern section of the Pleasantville Shopping Center has been vacant since an area charter school closed a few years ago. Prior to that, the eastern end housed a discount supermarket./R.J. Liberatore Jr. The Pleasantville Shopping Center was built in two phases more than 40 years ago. The eastern portion was constructed in the 1950s and the Kmart addition was added in the 1960s.

The shopping center is located on 20 acres of land at 600-800 West Black Horse Pike and was assessed at more than $15 million, according information posted on the New Jersey Association of Count Tax Boards website.

The John Brooks Recovery Center would occupy the eastern portion which had previously housed a discount supermarket and a now-closed charter school.

The John Brooks Recovery Center was founded in January 1969 in Atlantic City by six Atlantic City residents with help from the Episcopalian Diocese of New Jersey and the Division of Urban Concerns.

Founder John Brooks, a recovering heroin addict and an ex-convict, served as the organization’s executive director for many years.

In the beginning, the John Brooks Recovery Center was an outpatient, storefront treatment center for drug abusers.

The recovery center’s main mission was to provide quality treatment for minority, indigent drug abusers in Atlantic City.

In 1970, the organization expanded into a 24,000-square-foot building which had formally been an ice skating rink.

After receiving several grants, the organization purchased a building at 1315 Pacific Ave. in 1976.

In 1998 the John Brooks Recovery Center purchased and renovated a building at 20 S. Tennesee Ave. and turned it into a place to host women’s residential services and the organization’s administrative offices.

John Brooks Recovery Center received a $1.2 million contract from the New Jersey Division of Addiction Services to provide mobile outpatient services with counseling for adult IV opiate addicts.

John Brooks died at age 69 in 2005.


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