WARREN, Maine — A national firm recently submitted two methadone clinic proposals to the town: One outlines how the clinic would renovate an old chicken barn, the other a warehouse. Neither plan exactly fits the town’s zoning ordinance.
According to documents filed for CRC Health Group, the company wants to put a methadone clinic on Route 1. The timetable, if the town approves one of the plans, would be to build the 3,200-square-foot clinic in six months after spending almost half a million dollars on renovations.
Plan A would put the clinic in an old chicken barn at 1642 Atlantic Highway. One apparent flaw in the clinic’s plans is that they don’t meet the requirement of a 500-foot setback from residences. The chicken barn is surrounded by six homes, according to maps filed with the company’s application.
Plan B, which would put the methadone clinic in a warehouse near a place used to fix hot rods, is amongst about 17 homes.
Both properties are owned by Bob Emery, who has been helping CRC Health Group find a home in Warren.
The company might still have a shot. The town ordinance that regulates methadone clinics has an exception: The facility must be located 500 feet from any home “unless the applicant can demonstrate to the satisfactory of the planning board that no other practical alternative is available.”
In that case, the company would have to plant a tall “dense, evergreen hedge” as a visual barrier to the homes, according to the town land use ordinance.
The Warren Planning Board will meet Nov. 3 to take up the issue.
CRC Health Group has been trying to establish a methadone clinic in Warren for more than a year.
At a public meeting last December, only one of 240 people in attendance said they supported the clinic moving into town. Warren then enacted a temporary ban on methadone clinics while officials created ordinances governing the businesses.
The town was sued over the ban and Warren quickly settled the $300,000 suit.