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July 5, 2018

Councilman expects OK for addiction recovery center

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Warrenton’s planning commission last month voted unanimously to recommend town council approval of rezoning to allow a residential addiction treatment program in this county-owned building on Hospital Hill.
I think it makes sense. It’s the right place for it on Hospital Hill — close to medical services.
— Warrenton Councilman Bob Kravetz
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Staff Journalist
The Warrenton town councilman expects swift approval next week of plans to allow a residential addiction recovery center on Hospital Hill.

The council Tuesday night will conduct a public hearing on the county board of supervisors’ rezoning and special permit applications to establish a 28-day, overnight recovery program at 340 Hospital Drive.

The 7 p.m. public hearing will take place in Town Hall.

“I think it will be done very quickly,” said Councilman Bob Kravetz, whose Ward 4 includes the two-story, county-owned building that would house such a program. “I think it makes sense. It’s the right place for it on Hospital Hill — close to medical services.

“And, it’s a building that can be utilized for that.”

After a brief public hearing last month, the town planning commission unanimously recommended approval for a 16-bed center in the Rappahannock Rapidan Community Services Board’s building.

Three people — all in support of the project — spoke during the hearing.

The RRCS mental health clinic occupies the two-story, 7,800-square-foot structure. Fauquier County also owns the one-acre building site.

The county seeks to rezone the property from “Residential Office” to “Public/Semi-Public,” which would conform to the town comprehensive plan’s vision for it. A special permit would be required to establish a residential recovery program.

Under one scenario, the mental health clinic would move to another, larger building on Hospital Hill and an addiction recovery program would occupy the remodeled RRCSB building.

Initially, an outpatient program probably would be established in that structure, Deputy County Administrator Katie Heritage told the town planning commission.

But the county has no timeline to do that, Ms. Heritage explained.

He has had no feedback about the proposal, suggesting “that’ there’s no real opposition, or that people are even that aware of it,” said Mr. Kravetz, chairman of the town’s public safety and transportation committee. “I would speculate that the people who are aware of this application are the ones who have family or friends who are in need of recovery services.”

The Richmond-based McShin Foundation had planned to establish a 28-day overnight recovery program at 50 John Marshall St. in downtown Warrenton.

In November, the planning commission voted, 4-0, to recommend approval of the project. 

But, citing zoning and the comprehensive plan, the council in January unanimously rejected the foundation’s special permit application to operate a recovery center there. 

Though deeming the use inappropriate for the proposed site, the town pledged to work with McShin, county government and local organizations to find a suitable, alternative location.  

Because of financial problems, McShin on July 31 will cease providing a range of counseling services to recovering drug abusers and alcoholics at 30 John Marshall St.

A new, Warrenton-based organization — HOPE Heals — plans to continue the services. 

“I think it’ll be a good thing for the community,” Mr. Kravetz said of a Warrenton overnight addiction recovery center. “It puts the services closer to where they’re needed. The closest facility (Boxwood Recovery Center) is in Culpeper.”
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