Not meant to be

Duane and Tammara Taylor

A halfway house for women completing drug or alcohol rehabilitation programs held its grand opening in November of 2010. With friends, neighbors and their pastor present, Duane and Tammara Taylor spoke of the long approval process and their plans for a facility the community could be proud of.

The Taylors’ dream ended May 18 when the Saugerties Planning Board revoked the special use permit that allowed the couple to operate the facility. The revocation followed the revelation that Teen Challenge USA, their sponsoring organization, had ended its affiliation with the facility, which the Taylor’s had dubbed “Grandma’s House.” In fact, planning board member Bill Creen said that he heard the affiliation had, in fact, ended some time before that.

The facility, off Route 32 in Glasco, was required to be affiliated with a recognized drug or alcohol abuse program. Teen Challenge USA is a faith-based organization that works with recovering drug or alcohol users.

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Although no one was willing to speak on the record, it’s possible the affiliation ended because of a DWI received by Tammara Taylor. In February, a woman named Tammara Lavender with the same address as the facility was charged with driving while intoxicated on Route 32 near Ulster Landing after crossing the median and colliding with a state Department of Transportation vehicle. Lavender was injured in the accident and flown to Albany Medical Center.

Are Tammara Lavender and Tammara Taylor the same person? It seems to be the case. A note to the Planning Board stating that Teen Challenge’s house would be closed “until the pending allegations against Tammara Lavender are dismissed” is signed by Duane A. Taylor. The fax cover sheet lists the senders as Duane A. Taylor and/or Tammara Lavender.

Duane Taylor said Tuesday that he has no comment on the case at this time.

A hearing in Town of Ulster Court on the charge is scheduled for later this month.

Planning Board member Dan Weeks asked whether the facility could regain its permit if it finds another body to certify it as a program for recovering addicts. Board Chairman Howard Post said he believes it would make more sense to start the approval process over should the facility regain its certification or be certified by another body.

It’s been a long road for the Taylors. The facility, originally called “Win One for Jesus,” was granted a special use permit in February 2006, but did not open immediately, as several conditions relating to the property had to be met. The facility held its grand opening in November of 2010, under the name Grandma’s House, though the formal ownership was still under Win One for Jesus.

Board members have been supportive of the Taylors’ aims while acknowledging that they had difficulty dealing with the planning process. Still, just before the board vote last Tuesday, Chairman Howard Post said, “You know me. I’d the first one to say if they can get certification somewhere else, I’d be for it. But I don’t think it would be wise in this case…I wanted to see that go through for three years, and then they lost it,” Post said.

Teen Challenge USA accreditation manager Doug Lance said the relationship between Teen Challenge USA and its affiliates is confidential. He declined to comment on, or even acknowledge, the severing of the relationship with Grandma’s House.

Former Planning Board member Tom Francello had spoken in opposition through the permitting process while refraining from voting or speaking in his role as a board member at several public hearings on the facility’s permit. Francello, as a near neighbor, said it would not be appropriate for him to rule on the permit, though he did say last week that the closure bore out some of his concerns. Francello is also seeking an amendment to the town law that would strengthen the requirements for affiliation and reporting of drug and alcohol treatment facilities.  

 

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