Middlesex couple resists state psychiatric home

MIDDLESEX — State officials trying to resolve the psychiatric patient housing shortage have come into conflict with a Middlesex couple seeking to protect their children and avoid depreciation of their property.

The state is seeking to construct a seven-bed secure residential facility near a State Police barracks and state archives and records offices on Route 2, but a neighboring couple has turned to the state’s environmental court to intervene.

The state has gone so far as to consider buying the couple’s property in order to move the project forward, but legislators rejected the proposal.

The state believes it will prevail, but the court could take months to resolve the issue.

The state is trying to expedite the matter, citing the emergency need of housing for patients after Tropical Storm Irene flooded the Vermont State Hospital. Following the storm, the state dispersed VSH patients to facilities across the state, which has overtaxed emergency rooms at hospitals.

Two conference calls with legislators and state officials have sought to address the situation, but representatives said buying the property was an unfavorable solution, a stance led by Sen. Dick Mazza, D-Colchester, and Sen. Bob Hartwell, D-Dorset.

Read today’s paper for a full report.

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