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January 8, 2018

Addiction recovery center public hearing Tuesday

File Photo/Lawrence Emerson
The town planning commission recommended approval after a packed public hearing in November.
I understand questions about the location. But we’re not going to be at this location forever. We just want them to let us get started to bring help to the community and then find a permanent location.
— Chris Connell, McShin Foundation
Public Hearing
Topic: Special permit application for 14-bed substance abuse recovery center at 30 John Marshall St., Warrenton

• When: 7 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 9.

• Agency:
 Warrenton Town Council.

• Where: Town Hall, 18 Court St.

• Applicant: McShin Foundation, Richmond.

• Landowner: Mill Pond Investments LLC (Matt Iten, owner). 

• Zoning: Central Business District.

• Center manager: 
Chris Connell

• Details: By-right town zoning allows counseling at McShin’s 30 John Marshall St. building; the foundation and other groups have been providing services there since early September; proposed 28-day, overnight recovery program requires special permit use approval by town council; 14-bed substance abuse recovery center, would serve eight males and six females; two “house managers” — one to supervise women, the other men.
By .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
Staff Journalist
Warrenton’s town council Tuesday night will conduct a public hearing on a Richmond-based nonprofit’s proposal to open a 14-bed addiction recovery center downtown.

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

The council discussed the controversial proposal during a work session Thursday night.

Topics included whether the 30 John Marshall St. building represents the best possible site for the proposal, the maximum number of residents the program would accommodate and concerns about participants congregating outside the proposed center.

“Not a question of whether the program is needed,” Councilman Alec Burnett (Ward 2) said.

Instead, Mr. Burnett wondered aloud whether the proposed use at “this particular location” would be compatible with the town’s comprehensive plan and the Central Business District.

The main “issue is about zoning,” he added. “I think that will help us to keep on track.”

Mr. Burnett requested a list of other sites the McShin Foundation considered, hoping to learn why the foundation considers the John Marshall Street building a superior option.

“I think we need to know what the other possibilities are,” said Mayor Powell Duggan, suggesting that alternative properties zoned “Public-Semi-Public,” for example, might lend themselves to an overnight recovery center.

Fauquier’s board of supervisors in December agreed to buy the building and an adjacent parking lot from Mill Pond Investments LLC owner Matt Iten for $650,000. The county soon expects to close the deal.

In a Dec. 28 letter to the town, County Administrator Paul McCulla stated that the board of supervisors “does not see” the John Marshall Street building “as the best long-term location for a residential treatment facility.”

But it “does agree that a residential treatment facility operating now would be beneficial to the community” and it “will support the efforts of the Rappahannock Community Services Board, Fauquier Hospital, the sheriff and the PATH Foundation to find a location to construct a permanent residential treatment facility,” Mr. McCulla wrote.

> Letter at bottom of story

If the council grants the special permit, the county intends to “enter into a lease with McShin on mutually agreeable terms permitting McShin to operate the residential treatment facility” in John Marshall Street building, the two-page letter reads.

“I think the reality would be three years,” Supervisor Chris Granger, whose Center District includes Warrenton, said of a lease between McShin and the county.

The council also expressed concern that a 14-bed recovery program could allow more than that number of participants if they shared beds. A proposed condition will be clarified to limit the number of residents to 14.

Two “house managers” — one to supervise women, the other men — would live at the center.

Councilman Jerry Wood (Ward 1) expressed concern that program participants would congregate along John Marshall Street.

McShin has assured staff that would not occur.

Town Planning Director Brandie Schaeffer noted that a proposed condition of the permit states that “all programs and activities” associated with the center “will occur inside the structure.”

The council also had questions about McShin’s methods for securing and dispensing medications to program participants.

In an interview Friday, Chris Connell, who manages McShin’s Warrenton office, clarified remarks she made to the council about those processes.

McShin keeps medication in individual “lock boxes,” which get placed in a locked cabinet in a locked office. One at time, participants access their respective lock boxes using personal codes; a staff member then observes the participant self-administer medication.

Ms. Connell declined to speculate how the council might vote on the proposal.

“I keep going back to the fact this is a needed facility,” she said. “I understand questions about the location. But we’re not going to be at this location forever. We just want them to let us get started to bring help to the community and then find a permanent location.”

After a sometimes-heated, two-hour public hearing in November, the town planning commission voted, 4-0, to recommend approval of The McShin Foundation’s special use permit to operate a 28-day recovery center on John Marshall Street.

The commission serves as an advisory panel to the council, which has the final say.

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

McShin and other groups in September began providing free counseling at the John Marshall Street building.

The property's Central Business District zoning allows that use of the structure "by-right."

Founded in 2004, McShin, operates an apartment building and group homes with 170 beds for recovering addicts in and around Richmond. 

McShin Foundation Application Staff Report by Fauquier Now on Scribd

P McCulla Ltr Re McShin 122817 by Fauquier Now on Scribd

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BJ · January 8, 2018 at 9:45 pm
Didn't I read that there is a whole section of the Fauquier Hospital that is now not in use? Why not there if McShin's foot the bill?
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