Warren to ask voters for more money for lawyers in methadone clinic dispute

By Stephen Betts, BDN Staff
Posted July 30, 2012, at 12:17 p.m.

WARREN, Maine — A special town meeting will be held to ask voters to spend up to $60,000 more to pay for the town’s lengthy legal battle over a proposed methadone clinic.

Selectmen also will ask voters for money to demolish the former Warren Primary School, and for the 14th straight year will ask residents to waive the foreclosure on the former rifle range that is filled with flammable materials.

The meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 6, at the Warren Community School.

In regard to the legal costs, the town has been in a legal battle for nearly two years with CRC Health over a proposed methadone clinic. The company initially wanted to establish a methadone clinic in the former Warren Primary School but then settled on a site on Route 1 by the intersection of Short Street.

The 2012 municipal budget includes $20,000 for legal fees. Town Manager Grant Watmough said Monday that the town already has spent $28,000. Selectmen will ask residents to authorize spending up to another $60,000, Watmough said. He noted that if all the added money is not spent it will go into the fund balance.

The town not only is paying for an attorney to advise the selectmen but also the planning board, which held numerous meetings to review CRC’s clinic plans. The town also has hired an attorney to represent the Zoning Board of Appeals which will hear an appeal by neighbors of the approval given to the methadone clinic by the planning board.

In addition, the town has paid for a court stenographer to attend the planning board meetings and will have one for the board of appeals meeting. The appeals board is scheduled to meet at 7 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 16, at the Warren Community School on the CRC matter.

A CRC lawsuit is still pending in U.S. District Court over whether the town violated terms of the federal Americans with Disabilities Act by stalling approval of a methadone clinic to treat opiate addicts. The town voted to approve a settlement but it was contingent on the town’s review of CRC’s project.

Watmough said if the lawsuit continues those legal costs will be covered by the town’s insurance carrier.

At the Sept. 6 special town meeting, selectmen also will ask residents to spend $50,000 to demolish the old brick building that had once housed the Warren Primary School.

There had been money proposed at the March regular town meeting for the project but that was cut by voters.

The 9,600-square-foot building was turned over to the town in 2007 after School Administrative District 40 determined it had no further use for the structure. SAD 40 had used the building for several years for administrative offices after the primary school closed.

The building was originally built in 1963 as Warren High School but was used as a primary school when Medomak Valley High School in neighboring Waldoboro opened in 1968. The Warren property includes 5.5 acres.

Also on the town meeting warrant will be the request for residents to waive the foreclosure again of the former R.D. Outfitters rifle range on Route 90.

The owner, Steamship Navigation, has not paid property taxes since before 1999 and since then selectmen have asked and voters agreed not to foreclose on the property which would then make the property town owned.

The town has been trying to deal with how to handle all the wastes dumped on the site when it was owned by the rifle range.

The fourth and final article on the special town meeting warrant is to allow the town to participate in the PACE program for residents to be eligible for low interest energy conservation loans.

http://bangordailynews.com/2012/07/30/news/midcoast/warren-to-ask-voters-for-more-money-for-lawyers-in-methadone-clinic-dispute/ printed on July 30, 2014