Why We Fight
We are a grass roots organization that opposes commercial enterprises violating zoning laws by establishing and operating businesses that are prohibited in residential neighborhoods.
Specifically, we are pooling our resources and raising funds to oppose the attempt by Newport Academy and the Carlyle Group, one of the world’s largest investment and private equity firms, to develop mental health residential living centers (MHRLCs) that will provide medical treatment at 3236 Congress Street and 2495 Redding Road in Fairfield, Connecticut. This is our immediate goal, but the pernicious business model being carried out by the private equity-backed Newport Academy and similar companies also poses an ongoing threat to other residential neighborhoods and towns. Accordingly, we want to raise awareness of this issue among government leaders, policymakers and all citizens in Connecticut because each of us should be equally concerned.
In the case of Newport Academy, it is proposing to open two separate six-bed treatment facilities – one for men and one for women – that will treat young adults ages 18-26 for various mental health problems. According to filings with the State, each facility will be licensed by the Department of Public Health as a MHRLC, they will provide clinical programming 4 hours a day and on weekends, clinical staff will be on site on a 24/7 basis and each patient is expected to live in the facility for an average of 60 days.
Both of these facilities will be affiliated with a 53-bed therapeutic center for adolescents ages 14-20 that is already operating in Bethlehem, CT and an outpatient center operating in Darien, CT. This is clearly a commercial enterprise that plans to use two single-family homes in Fairfield to generate profits at the expense of their neighbors.
Sensible zoning lies at the heart of making the Town of Fairfield and other family-oriented towns like it desirable places to live.
The economic motivations of big business should NOT be allowed to circumvent zoning laws that provide oversight of commercial activities. These laws help ensure that those of us who choose to live and raise our families outside of commercial zones are afforded the quiet enjoyment of our homes without competing with large corporations for available housing stock, recreational spaces and other resources that make our residential neighborhoods unique. When the lines between commercial and residential zones get blurred, the people next door become more transient, streets become more congested with traffic and parked cars, property values go down and our neighborhoods become less safe!
We believe Newport Academy’s plans violate Fairfield’s zoning laws. We also believe that Newport Academy has mischaracterized these medical facilities as “group homes”, which are entitled to special protections under federal and state fair housing laws, since these laws were not created for treatment centers and profiteers to make money on the backs of struggling young adults and their parents. We of course support fair housing and anti-discrimination laws that protect vulnerable populations and minorities.
We also understand the importance of providing mental health treatment and substance abuse treatment to those who need it, but Newport Academy’s proposed facilities would actually provide better care if they were located in commercial zones and not residential neighborhoods unsuited for this type of commercial activity.
Our organization opposes Newport Academy’s unannounced, unwanted and improper entrance into residentially zoned neighborhoods. We also want to discourage others from following suit. We are asking YOU to help us so we can pay for legal representation and take other steps to have our voices heard in local zoning proceedings and the state regulatory process necessary for the proposed facilities in Fairfield to become licensed. Our fight begins here -- yet, any home, anywhere in the State, is vulnerable.