Jacob Poleyeff has been dropping off and picking up his 11-year-old daughter Jenna at Matheny since May 2012, when she was admitted with a rare seizure disorder known as Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome.
“I would estimate that I’ve now taken about 250 trips up or down Highland Avenue in Peapack,” he says. “I can count on one hand the total number of cars that have passed me in the other direction on all 250 trips. And I have seen zero children – not one – on that road the entire time.”
Yet, a proposed expansion and renovation by Matheny to add 40 beds and about 60 employees was defeated by the Peapack-Gladstone Land Use Board in 2011, primarily based on complaints by neighbors that the increased traffic caused by the expansion would cause the road to become more unsafe and imperil the lives of those using it. That decision was recently upheld by a Superior Court judge in Somerset County.
The traffic issue, says Poleyeff, “is really nonsense. I would encourage anyone curious to take a drive up there and try to imagine how 60 additional cars a day – what’s that, one every 12 minutes? – could possibly impact the safety or even affect the lifestyles of these residents. While you’re at it, stop and visit Matheny and see some of the kids and the activities that take place. The entire outrage of what’s going on up there will become quite clear.”
“My daughter,” adds Poleyeff, “was lucky that a place opened up for her, but so many kids and their folks are waiting desperately. Forty openings doesn’t sound like a lot, but for those families, it would have made a world of difference.”