Proposal could turn Suffolk convent into sober house

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BLUE POINT -

A new proposal could turn a Suffolk County convent into a sober house.

John Haley says he's on the front lines of Long Island's fight against opioid addiction. As chief operating officer of the Seafield Center -- a rehab facility in Westhampton Beach -- Haley now has his sights set on a soon-to-be closed convent in Blue Point where he hopes to open a 76-bed treatment center for women.

"We're losing an entire generation of our youth," he says.

But amid heavy opposition from the surrounding community, there's a chance the Town of Brookhaven will not approve a zoning change that's required for the rehab facility to open. If that happens, Haley says he plans to instead turn the facility into a sober home that could accommodate up to 100 people, most likely men, and would not require a zoning change.

Neighborhood activist Jason Borowski is calling the proposed nonprofit sober home a commercial facility. He and other residents who are part of the Blue Point Community Coalition say they question the legality of the project and that it would likely change the small-town atmosphere for which Blue Point is known.

"It's not about addiction," Borowski says. "It's not about not wanting to help people. It's strictly preserving the residential character that's already been established."

At this point, Haley says he hopes to have the sober home up and running by the spring. Residents opposed to the project say they plan to fight it by any means necessary, which could include a lawsuit.

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