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Fate of Drug Detox Facility Up In The Air

Monroe County Board of Zoning Appeals hears variance argument for detox facility.

Photo: Tyler Lake

Monroe County Board of Zoning Appeals hears variance argument for detox facility.

The Monroe County Board of Zoning Appeals could not come to a consensus on a request to grant a use variance for a proposed drug detox center called The Haven.

The four board members split their votes 2 to 2, which means the issue will be heard again at the next Board of Zoning Appeals meeting in January.

The proposed site for the facility is the former Hoosier Energy Building on Ellis Road. It sits in an area zoned residential, but the building is zoned institutional because of an exemption given to Hoosier Energy.

The petitioners are requesting their facility be considered a hospital, which is not an accepted use given the building’s current “institutional” zoning designation.

Jim Bohrer, is an attorney representing the petitioners. He says there’s a demand for the detox center in Monroe County.

“The governor of Indiana, the president of Indiana University, the mayor of Bloomington and many others have come forward and said that we need these types of facilities,” Bohrer said, “and we don’t have them in this community at this time,” Bohrer says.

Several residents who live near the proposed site came out to express fears about having a drug detox facility in their neighborhood. They say slow emergency response times to the area make it an unfit location to house a facility with recovering drug addicts.

Larry Barber urged the board to oppose the facility, saying it would destroy his neighborhood.

“If you allow this to occur,” Barber said,  “it will do damage to the community, it will be disaster waiting to happen.”

The next Zoning Appeals Board meeting is tentatively scheduled for January 3rd but may be moved to accommodate board member’s schedules.

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