The Bloomington Board of Zoning Appeals voted to approve a zoning violation appeal request from a local treatment center while denying two other appeals from a separate center.
The board heard petitions from the Indiana Center for Recovery and Bloomington Transitions, two addiction treatment centers that offer clinical services for patients with alcohol and opioid addiction.
The city says both centers are in violation of zoning requirements by operating as what they classify as a ‘rehabilitation clinic’ without a special conditional use permit.
The Indiana Center for Recovery operates two adjacent facilities on West 1st street- one which serves as a medical clinic and another which is residential apartment housing for patients.
Lawyer for the ICFR, Cheyenne Riker says the residential unit at 909 West 1st Street is wrongly classified as a rehabilitation clinic because it doesn't administer treatment to any patients at the facility.
“You can not deny our appeal because there is no treatment rendered," says Riker. "This is not a rehabilitation clinic this is a building where people live.”
Riker also argues that their clinic location at 1004 West 1st Street, which does administer treatment, does not operate as an inpatient facility. He says the center chose not to file for conditional use because it does not fall under the ‘rehabilitation clinic’ definition.
During the public comment portion of the hearing, many residents shared their concerns with living nearby to the treatment’s residential facility, attesting to frequent noise disturbances and littering.
Mark Jackman is a resident who lives across the street. He says he sees the apartment as a disturbance that nearby residents have been forced to deal with.
“Residents are not shy about shouting from the street or from the higher balconies often using uncivilized or vulgar language," says Jackman.
The board voted to deny the two appeals requesting land use approval without the conditional use filed for each ICFR location.
A notice was given to Bloomington Transitions that they also were in violation for operating within a medical district without a conditional use permit. This facility operates an outpatient clinic at 411 West 1st Street.
Representatives from Bloomington Transitions say they are different from the ICFR because they do not host patients in any facility for overnight say, distinguishing them from a rehabilitation clinic’s inpatient definition.
The board voted unanimously to approve the appeal request for the Bloomington Transitions clinic.
Barre Klapper, BZA President says the main difference between the two treatment centers is the residential component.
“The fact that there was a residential component to the first two cases that we heard that there were actually two business that were acting in tandem and one really wouldn’t exist in the same way without the other," Klapper says.
Klapper says the ICFR can come back to the BZA for a hearing as a conditional use facility or they can uphold their appeal for the initial citing in court.