Home > All Posts, All things MAT, Don't know!, Family and Friends, NIMBYism > Fear of lawsuit cancels methadone town meeting – Daniel Dunkle – Rockland – Camden – Knox – The Herald Gazette

Fear of lawsuit cancels methadone town meeting – Daniel Dunkle – Rockland – Camden – Knox – The Herald Gazette

What exactly it is these people are scared of?  They will have addicts in their town–“DONE addicts” as they call us,  live everywhere.  They will have a facility in their mist that gives out narcotics every day?  Warren is right next to Waldoboro and WALTZ pharmacy hands out methadone and many more narcotics every day. That they will have addicts congragating and talking amongst each other to help each other thru rough times? DONE-ever heard of an AA meeting?

If the town could name even ONE reason they are scared of a methadone clinic that isn’t already a part of their every day lives or isn’t a completely irrational fear-it would be a good start in showing they are being discriminatory.

I heard someone actually say the other day that the clinic shouldn’t be in the school because children USED to be on the premises.  ARE YOU KIDDING ME PEOPLE?  What are the patients going to do, hurt the memories of the children?

Fear of lawsuit cancels methadone town meeting – Daniel Dunkle – Rockland – Camden – Knox – The Herald Gazette.

Warren — In an emergency meeting March 16 Warren selectmen voted 4-0 to cancel the March 22 town meeting at which townspeople would have been asked to vote on proposed methadone clinic rules and regulations.

Town Manager Grant Watmough said the town’s attorney, Patrick Mellor, has recommended changing the proposed methadone clinic ordinance due to a potential lawsuit threatened by CRC Health Group. CRC has proposed establishing a clinic in the former school in town, and its attorney, James Green of Florida, argues the Americans with Disabilities Act prohibits the town from discriminating against methadone clinics and the patients they treat.

A town committee recently completed work on the proposed methadone regulations, which would be added as a new section of the land use ordinance if approved by the town. On the advice of attorney Mellor they worked as fast as possible to complete the proposed ordinance so that it could be put before voters and the town’s moratorium on methadone clinics could be ended. Working quickly, it was hoped, would help avoid a potential lawsuit.

At the meeting, town officials noted that CRC’s lawyer, Green, who is a top expert on the ADA law, has reviewed the proposed ordinance. After talks with Green, the town attorney has proposed taking several things out of the new methadone clinic ordinance. Mellor was not able to attend the meeting.

“This town writes its ordinances,” committee Chairman Michael York argued. “James Green doesn’t write the ordinances for this town. I don’t care if he threatens to sue the town or not. They’re going to do what they’re going to do.”

His comments were met with applause from the townspeople in attendance at the meeting.

“CRC doesn’t like what’s in the ordinance, so they’re using a stick to beat it out of them,” York said.

He argued the proposed changes to the ordinance “take the teeth” out of it.

Watmough said at the meeting that even if the changes to the ordinance are made, there’s no guarantee or assurance that CRC won’t file a lawsuit against the town.

Selectmen voted to send the ordinance back to the committee to continue working on it. They said the issue is not going to be dealt with at the annual town meeting March 29, but at a special town meeting once the committee has completed its work.

“We’ve started jumping through hoops,” York said. “It was three weeks ago now.”

The committee was originally given six months to work on the ordinance after the town declared a moratorium on methadone clinics. Several weeks ago, the committee was told to finish its work as soon as possible and get an ordinance before the voters to end the moratorium and the committee responded, York said, by working late into the night during several meetings per week to get the work done. In doing so, the committee looked at methadone ordinances from several other Maine towns.

“It’s done us absolutely no good,” York said March 16, concerning the ongoing specter of a potential lawsuit.

York added that throughout the process, the committee members asked the town attorney if the proposed ordinance passes ADA muster.

The town attorney has proposed removing several items from the proposed ordinance including the $5,000 application fee and the $2,500 annual review fee. Those fees were put in place to offset the town’s expenses in hiring experts to review applications for methadone treatment clinics.

However, the proposed change would then refer to rules in the town’s Site Plan Review Ordinance. Under the site plan ordinance the planning board would still be able to set a fee, though the fee amount is not specified.

The setback requirements would be amended to say no clinic may be located within 1,000 feet of any church, school, day care, library, park or playground “unless the applicant can demonstrate to the satisfaction of the planning board that no other practical alternative is available.” In a similar wording, clinics would not be allowed within 500 feet of residences unless they can demonstrate that no practical alternative is available.

Facilities will still be limited to Route 1 and Route 90.

Also cut from the methadone ordinance would be the requirement to present a business plan with hours of operation, number of clients, methods of treatment, background checks for clinic employees and many other pieces of information. All of that would be replaced by the state regulations for Substance Abuse Treatment Programs.

Most of the committee’s proposed traffic condition requirements would be slashed from the methadone ordinance.

York asked that the committee be allowed to hire an attorney that specializes in the ADA law.

Selectmen John Crabtree noted that the town has a budget for legal costs, but added that any ADA expert is likely to have been schooled by Green.

Selectman Christine Wakely asked Watmough to put together a list of ADA experts for the committee.

One of the challenges the town faces, York said, is that the moratorium and ordinance are reactionary measures. If the town had an ordinance on the books before a methadone clinic had been proposed, the situation would be somewhat different.

Some residents questioned why CRC even has the standing to sue the town, given the fact that CRC has no application before the town. Businessman Robert Emery through his company Vixen Land Holdings LLC had a purchase-and-sale agreement to buy the former school from the town. He went before the planning board Nov. 4 and received approval for professional offices in that building. The planning board later rescinded that approval. CRC never filed an application, but had planned to be a tenant in the building after Emery bought it.

Mellor argued in a Dec. 30 letter to Green that CRC Health Group has no standing to request relief from the town.

York said March 16 that is not the case. Under ADA law, any service provider of methadone has standing to sue if the town has a moratorium in place.

“I’m just as frustrated as you,” York said.

Sarah Betts Alley argued that she voted against the moratorium because it should have included both methadone clinics and medical marijuana clinics.

“CRC wants the brick school and they will fight for it. They have the money,” she said.

Town officials said Emery’s purchase-and-sale agreement is null and void on the former school because he did not produce a written commitment from a lender for the project as specified by the contract. Mellor sent Emery’s attorney Philip Cohen a letter March 1 saying the contract was null and void.

Cohen said in a meeting that he and his client had not agreed to that assessment of the situation.

Town officials noted at the meeting that Emery could go to court seeking to overturn that town decision.

The next ordinance committee meeting will be Thursday, March 24 at 7 p.m. at the town office.

Selectman Frank Braun was absent from the meeting.

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  1. April 30, 2011 at 1:14 pm

    Rokki-my comment was used with total satire. In our area if your on methadone they consider you a “DONE addict” and I was trying to make fun of how ignorant it sounds. Sorry for the confusion.

  2. March 26, 2011 at 9:37 pm

    Appreciate your blog and your passion,but Please stop feeding STIGMA. Using the term”DONE Addicts” is totally unprofessional and contains no medical meaning at all. It’s a medication named methadone. Don’t be lazy. We are not addicts either. We are dependent upon a medication much like Thyroid and insulin,but I thought I was preaching to the Choir.

    Rokki

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