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July 19, 2017

14-bed addiction recovery center proposed in town

Photo/Don Del Rosso
Chris Connell manages The McShin Foundation’s counseling center that will open soon in the former R.L. Rider & Co. office on Warrenton’s John Marshall Street.
The building stands near the courthouse and sheriff’s office in downtown Warrenton.
It’s perfect for what we want to do. It’s across the street from the jail, a block away from the AA house. Who could argue with a resource center and a few beds?
— John Shinholser, McShin Foundation president
The McShin Foundation Center of Warrenton
• What: Planned substance addiction counseling and 14-bed substance abuse recovery center, serving seven males and seven females.

• Where: 30 John Marshall St., Warrenton.

• Owner: Mill Pond Investments LLC.

• Zoning: Central Business District.

• Office hours: 8 a.m.-5 p.m. weekdays; counseling sessions no later than 9 p.m weekdays.

• Center manager: Chris Connell.

• Details: Town zoning ordinance allows counseling services by right; planned 28-day, overnight recovery program probably will require special use permit approval by town council.

• Next: McShin Foundation in about two weeks hopes submit special use permit application to town; review process involves town staff analysis, town planning commission work session and public hearing; town council will conduct work session and public hearing before acting on application.

• Website: Click here

• Facebook: Click here

• Annual report: Click here
By .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
Staff Journalist
A Richmond-based nonprofit wants to open a 14-bed substance abuse recovery center in Warrenton.

By Aug. 1, The McShin Foundation plans to begin providing free counseling services at 30 John Marshall St., Warrenton center Manager Chris Connell said.

The property’s Central Business District zoning allows that use of the building “by-right.”

But, the foundation also plans to operate a residential recovery program in the three-story, brick structure for seven male and seven female addicts, who would be housed on separate floors.

“Based on what we know,” that 28-day program probably will require special use permit approval by the town council, Warrenton Community Development Director Brandie Schaeffer said.

McShin, which operates an apartment building and group homes with 170 beds for recovering addicts in and around Richmond, hopes to submit a special permit application to the town in couple of weeks, Ms. Connell said.

As part of the permit review process, Warrenton’s planning commission and the council will conduct work sessions and public hearings before acting on the proposal.

Both foundation President John Shinholser and Ms. Connell know that public hearings will give citizens a chance to openly oppose the residential program.

“I’ve been there before,” said Mr. Shinholser, who cofounded the nonprofit in 2004. “You find out what’s in a person’s heart through these hearings and meetings.

“If we get (the permit), we get it. If we don’t, we won’t house people there.”

Still, he believes the 4,410-square-foot John Marshall Street building makes sense.

“It’s perfect for what we want to do. It’s across the street from the jail, a block away from the AA house. Who could argue with a resource center and a few beds?”

Ms. Connell believes that “education” and the experience of other communities that have residential recovery programs can help overcome fears and misunderstandings about such uses.

“We have plenty of recoveries that can tell their story and vouch for the McShin Foundation and what we’ve done for them,” she said. “And we have plenty of neighbors for McShin down in Richmond that can vouch that we don’t bring in a bunch of riff-raff in there. . . . We’re not going to bring anybody bad into the community.”

In April, Fauquier County’s jail — with the help of McShin — started a “peer-to-peer” counseling program for inmates who struggle with substance abuse.

After Sheriff Bob Mosier “opened the door to us for the jail program, we just saw an opportunity here” to establish an addiction recovery center,” Ms. Connell said.

The foundation considered a couple of other Fauquier properties, but they proved infeasible “because of the way we wanted to do office and residential,” she added.

Two “house managers” — one male, the other female — would supervise the residents.

Program participants would share bedrooms, bathrooms, a kitchen and laundry room, Ms. Connell said.

Besides supervised “recovery” sessions, participants would take basic classes on how to prepare a resume, develop job interview skills and “maintain a house,” she said.

Vacant for several years, the John Marshall Street building previously served as the headquarters for R.L. Rider & Co., an excavation and site work contractor.

McShin has begun converting space for offices and meeting rooms. Improvements include a fresh coat of paint, refinished and new wood floors, indoor and outdoor handrails and two new toilets.

The foundation already has spent $30,000 on the project, Mr. Shinholser said.

If McShin gets a special use permit to operate the residential program, it would need to make other expensive improvements.

For example, a required sprinkler system would cost a “minimum” $15,000, Ms. Connell said.

The top floor and bottom floors, which would house the male and female clients, respectively, also would require remodeling.

Under a one-year lease agreement with building owner Matt Iten, the foundation pays no rent but will cover property taxes, utility bills and other related expenses, Mr. Shinholser said.

Ms. Connell has discussed the project with local officials, including Sheriff Mosier and Warrenton Police Chief Louis Battle, and PATH Foundation Program Officer Andy Johnston.

“I think there’s a need for it, as far as the office counseling piece,” the sheriff said.

He also believes Fauquier would benefit from a residential recovery program but offered no opinion about whether the John Marshall Street building would be an appropriate site for one.

“It’s premature to comment,” Chief Battle said. “I’m not well versed in their philosophy and facilities.”

While the town police chief believes “there’s a need for” addiction recovery services in the county, “I don’t know that (a center) has to be in Warrenton or Fauquier. It has to serve the clients that need it.”

“We’re interested in continuing the discussion (with McShin) and seeing where it goes,” said Mr. Johnston, whose foundation has no application from the nonprofit seeking financial help.

Fauquier and the four other counties in the Rappahannock-Rapidan Regional Commission district have no residential addiction recovery center, he said.
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Wellington · July 22, 2017 at 10:58 pm
Fully support this--we need all the resources we can get in battling this scourge.
John Shinholser · July 19, 2017 at 6:23 pm
This is a great opportunity to provide a much needed community resource during a state of emergency addiction epidemic ,provided by one of the best authentic recovery community organization one of only 9 nationally accredited such organizations.
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