Philipstown Board Told There is Help for Those Struggling

Upland Drive moratorium continued until June

As the pandemic continues, the Philipstown Town Board last week received briefings about mental health and nutrition programs in the Highlands, including counseling and food aid available to residents.

Danielle Pack McCarthy, executive director of the Philipstown Behavioral Health Hub, a town-supported resource center, and Cathleen Donovan, a nutritionist, separately addressed the board at its Dec. 3 monthly meeting at the Recreation Center in Garrison. Both women live in Philipstown.

Pack McCarthy, who regularly updates the board on Hub activities, said it has seen an uptick in inquiries from residents undergoing mental stress or addiction problems, as well as those feeling uneasy because of financial setbacks or other challenges. In November the agency worked with 22 clients, including 12 of whom who were new.

“For a small town, that’s a sizeable number,” she said.

Now a year old, the Hub has added three part-time staff members and, unlike many social service agencies, continues to offer in-person appointments, at its office on Stone Street in Cold Spring.

“That’s a real benefit” to many people, “a real-life service on this side of the county,” according to Pack McCarthy. The Hub’s programs serve both families and individuals, including older residents living alone. Too often, “seniors are really isolated and struggling,” she said.

Donovan, of Sun River Health (formerly Hudson River Health Care) said that although Putnam County no longer oversees the federal Women-Infants-Children supplemental nutrition program that is channeled through state governments, WIC assistance and similar programs are available to Philipstown residents who go to Beacon and Peekskill. (Sun River Health offers WIC in both.) In 2019, Putnam transferred its WIC functions to Open Door Family Medical Center and Foundation, a nonprofit with an office in Brewster.

“You can apply for some of these programs in any county, as long as you are a resident of New York,” Donovan said. Because of the shutdown, “a lot of people who never used services before find themselves needing something like this.”

Mountain road moratorium

In August, the Town Board adopted a moratorium on development along Upland Drive, Cliffside Court, a cul-de-sac lane that branches off of Upland, and Ridge Road, about a mile from Upland. All are private roads in the Continental Village section of town. The board’s 5 to 0 vote last week continues the ban until June 4 to give town officials more time to review options, including zoning law changes and cooperative approaches with residents, who have asked for town help.

Councilor Mike Leonard said that Upland and Ridge Road contain sections that “are just dangerous. They should be shut down. They’re not safe at all.”

“We certainly can’t entertain any large-scale building up there,” Supervisor Richard Shea said. “It doesn’t make sense to add even another house up there. It’s a bad situation. We don’t want to make it any worse.”

The moratorium does not affect repairs to existing homes.

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