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June 20, 2018

Addiction recovery center wins planners’ support

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Rezoning and a special use permit would allow a residential addiction recovery program to operate in this county-owned building at 340 Hospital Drive in Warrenton.
It has widespread support. Everybody I’ve talked to in the community supports it.
— Supervisor Chris Granger (Center District)
Public Hearing
• Topic: Rezoning and special permit applications for 16-bed addiction recovery center at 340 Hospital Drive, Warrenton

• When: Tuesday, June 19.

• Agency: Warrenton Planning Commission

• Action: Commission unanimously recommended town council approval of applications.

• Length: About 7 minutes.

• Speakers: 3, in support.

• Where: Town Hall, 18 Court St.

• Applicant: Fauquier County Board of Supervisors.

• Landowner: Fauquier County Board of Supervisors.

• Next: Applications will go to town council for July public hearing.
By .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
Staff Journalist
As expected, Warrenton’s planning commission Tuesday unanimously backed a proposal to establish an addiction recovery program on Hospital Hill.

Three people — all in support of the project — spoke during the seven-minute public hearing at Town Hall.

The commission voted, 5-0, to recommend approval of the Fauquier board of supervisors’ rezoning and special permit applications to establish a 16-bed center in the Rappahannock-Rapidan Community Services Board building at 340 Hospital Drive.

Commissioner Diane Roteman didn’t attend the meeting; one of the seven-member panel’s seats remains vacant.

RRCSB’s mental health clinic occupies the two-story, 7,800-square-foot building. Fauquier County owns the structure and one-acre 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 the 28-day, overnight recovery program.

Under one scenario, the mental health clinic would move to another, larger building on Hospital Hill.

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 commission.

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

“We have found some promising” potential providers, she said. “We’re pursing them right now. We would like to bring this about as quickly as possible. We don’t want to see any gap in these important services if we can.”

First-term Mayor Powell Duggan, who will step down at the end of June, favors the proposed use and location.

“People need (counseling) when they’re ready and they need it where they are,” said Mr. Duggan, whose son Dan died of a heroin overdose in 2015 at the age of 38. “If we’re going to address the opioid problem in this country, it’s going to have to be addressed in each town, in each city, each county, each state.

“It’s a local-level problem, and it needs to be addressed that way.”

Supervisor Chris Granger (Center District), who represents Warrenton, knows of no opposition to the project.

“It has widespread support,” Mr. Granger told the commission. “Everybody I’ve talked to in the community supports it.”

The planning commission advises the town council on a range of land-use matters.

The council, which has final authority, could conduct a public hearing and act on the rezoning and special permit applications at its July 10 meeting.

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. 

In February, local government, Warrenton-based-PATH Foundation, RRCSB, law enforcement representatives met for a half-day to discuss the opioid crisis and way to address it.

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.
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