Methadone clinic public hearing Monday in Brewer

Posted March 14, 2009, at 4:12 p.m.

BREWER, Maine — A committee made up of city leaders has decided that the Wilson Street corridor is the best place for any methadone or other drug treatment facilities that plan to come to town.

A Planning Board and City Council joint public hearing is scheduled for 6 p.m. Monday at City Hall on proposed changes to land use codes, which would restrict where narcotic treatment facilities can locate, their size and licensing.

No one has approached Brewer about opening a clinic, City Manager Steve Bost said on Saturday.

“Not that I’m aware of,” he said.

There are six proposed land use changes that will be presented to residents tonight. The ordinance amendments were created by the methadone treatment facilities ordinance committee, a sub committee created by the City Council last fall.

Under the proposed changes, narcotic treatment facilities would only be allowed to open in the general business and professional business districts, which basically is a half-mile-thick band of land that runs along the Wilson Street corridor. The area equals 7.8 percent of the city.

All public or private schools within the zone, such as Brewer High School on Parkway South and Stillwater Academy on Acme Road, are in restricted areas that also have 250-foot buffer zones.

In addition to location requirements, additional restrictions cover landscaping, parking and building size. The proposed rules would require 15 square feet per client to ensure that there is enough room “so no one is waiting outside of the building,” City Planner Linda Johns has said.

Security guards and surveillance cameras also would be required, along with renewing city licenses and having an inspection on a yearly basis.

The proposed amendments also would ban mobile drug treatment clinics.

Methadone, a synthetic opiate, is used to treat addiction to heroin and other opiates. Supporters of methadone treatment say clinics are crucial to curbing addiction, while critics say the clinics breed more crime.

Bangor is home to three of the state’s nine methadone clinics.

The six Brewer city staffers who sit on the methadone treatment facilities ordinance committee are city solicitor Joel Dearborn, police Chief Perry Antone, Mayor Archie Verow, code enforcement officer David Russell and Johns and Bost.

After the public hearing, the Planning Board will review the proposed changes and if approved by that panel, they will be presented to the City Council for approval at their next regular meeting, which is April. 14.

City councilors enacted a moratorium on methadone and other drug treatment clinics that expires in August.

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