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No substance-abuse rehab centers in commercial zones, Lindon says

SHARE No substance-abuse rehab centers in commercial zones, Lindon says

LINDON -- The City Council struck down Tuesday a proposed ordinance that would have allowed substance abuse rehabilitation centers to be established in commercial zones.

City Council members and citizens alike feared that passing the ordinance would attract other similar facilities to Lindon.Gryphon Center prompted the ordinance proposal by planning to build a substance abuse rehabilitation site on a parcel of land on approximately 200 N. State Street, north of a bed-and-breakfast establishment and across the street from Lindon City Park.

"Do we want this type of business in the heart of town?" asked Councilwoman Lindsay Bayless following a public hearing and prior to a vote on the issue. "I have a real concern with the potential future of this structure. . . . There are other places that would be more suitable. I'm not comfortable with this facility in a commercial zone."

All but one council member agreed. A motion to deny the ordinance amendment was made, and Councilman Jeff Acerson cast the only dissenting vote.

The Planning Commission previously laid down a number of restrictions on the planned center. Substance abuse rehabilitation centers are also closely regulated by the state, and the city already has ordinances that deal with juvenile and elderly care facilities. The council did say it would consider the establishment of substance abuse rehabilitation centers in other zones.

Gryphon Center representative Frank Colby, who attended the public hearing, was frustrated by the council's decision. The company had spent 3 1/2 years researching and working with the Lindon Planning Commission and City Council. Colby said Gryphon will not build in Lindon. "(The city) lost out on a $3.4 million payroll," he said.

Colby said Gryphon still wants to build a 48-bed, upscale facility that would house male patients between the ages of 29 and 45. The company wants to contract with the federal government and major corporations to rehabilitate such employees who have drug and alcohol addictions.

Some citizens cited security concerns, as the center would not have a fence outside or bars on the windows or armed guards. But Colby said it would be heavily secured, equipped with camera surveillance and a staff of 28 employees. "People who will come will not harm you," Colby said. "You won't see these people because they're not outside."

Some of the smattering of residents who voiced their opinions at the meeting said it wasn't Gryphon they had a problem with but rather what the future might hold.

"When the first one is in, others will follow," said resident Dennis Wheeler. "What does Lindon have to gain from this? The same piece of property could be used for something that wouldn't potentially harm residents. Once you open the Pandora's Box, there will be no control. Lindon has nothing to gain, everything to lose."

According to the ordinance, substance abuse center proprietors must apply for conditional use permits and notify residents who live within 1,000 feet of a planned facility.