Warren methadone clinic faces appeal from neighborsFederal lawsuit remains active as drug provider protests town process
Warren — Neighbors of the proposed methadone clinic at the corner of Route 1 and Short Street have filed an appeal with the town zoning board, saying the planning board made the wrong decision in approving the project, according to documents filed at the town office.
The appeals board will meet next 7 p.m., July 19 on the issue. The agenda on the town office web site says it will be held at the town office as a workshop and a town office staff member said the meeting will not be about this appeal. The meeting of the board on the appeal has not been set.
In addition, the town has made a motion in federal court asking to end the lawsuit filed by CRC Health Group, the company proposing the methadone clinic. The town argues it has met the requirements of the tentative settlement of the case when the planning board approved the project June 5. The town stands ready to pay the $320,000 settlement amount to CRC, Town Manager Grant Watmough said.
CRC attorney Walter McKee said July 3 the appeal is really like starting the process all over again and CRC will wait until after the appeal is finished to decide whether to settle.
CRC Recovery Inc., doing business as Midcoast Treatment Center, wants to open the clinic in the building owned by Robert Emery Jr. across the road from Maritime Farms in Warren. The address is 1767 Atlantic Highway (Route 1).
Attorney James Strong filed an appeal of the project on behalf of the neighbors John Turner, Jennifer Turner, Marianne Pellicani, Wendy McKenzie, M. Justin Wiegleb, Terry Walsh, Stephen Wood and Patricia Wood.
Strong argues in the appeal that the planning board erred in several areas when it approved the project. He notes the town ordinance prohibits such "large facilities" within 500 feet of any existing dwelling, but the proposed location is within that range of 17 homes. He also raises concerns about traffic congestion that might be caused by the project, a topic covered extensively during the planning board's lengthy review of the proposal.
In addition to this appeal, CRC is still working to achieve approval from the Warren Sanitary District. The sewer district has asked CRC to pay $20,000 for an engineering study. McKee said the parties have now reached an agreement. CRC is paying the district $10,000 to begin the engineering study. Later it will be decided whether the full $20,000 study is needed. The sewer district, and not CRC, will hire the engineering firm, which McKee said is "perfectly appropriate."
Editor's note: This story has been changed since it was originally posted online. Town Manager Grant Watmough said when interviewed by phone for this story that the meeting on July 19 would be concerning this appeal. A staff member from the town office later called the newspaper saying the meeting would only be a workshop on July 19 and the appeal date has not be set.
News Editor Daniel Dunkle can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on twitter at @DanDunkle.