Methadone clinic controversy helps push Warren planning board chair to resign

Warren Planning Board member David George (left) and Chairman Peter Krakoff deliberate over plans for a methadone clinic by CRC Health in June.
Stephen Betts | BDN
Warren Planning Board member David George (left) and Chairman Peter Krakoff deliberate over plans for a methadone clinic by CRC Health in June.
By Stephen Betts, BDN Staff
Posted Sept. 03, 2012, at 9:01 a.m.

WARREN, Maine — The man who has led the town’s planning board for 20 years has announced his resignation.

Peter Krakoff said Sunday that the controversy over the proposed CRC Health methadone clinic played a role in his decision.

“The past nine months have been very, very difficult. Some people feel I’ve done a good job and some people feel I have not done such a good job,” Krakoff said.

He acknowledged the proposed methadone clinic has been the most controversial project that the planning board has handled in his time on the board.

“There have been some gravel pits, some subdivisions,” Krakoff said, but nothing even close to as contentious as the methadone clinic.

Krakoff has been on the planning board for 22 years and its chairman for 20 years. His involvement with town government began a couple years before that when he helped write a town mining ordinance. Back in the late 1980s, Black Hawk Mining had proposed mining for nickel deposits near Crawford Pond, a proposal that generated considerable public interest.

“It’s time for someone new to step forward,” he said.

CRC Health’s proposal to establish a methadone clinic was approved by the planning board in June on a 3-2 vote. Krakoff was in the majority on the board to vote for approval, saying it met municipal ordinances.

That approval came after nine months of meetings by the planning board, each of which was attended by neighbors who opposed the proposal.

CRC Health first proposed a methadone clinic in November 2010 at the former Warren Primary School. That proposal was met by opposition and led the town to adopt a moratorium on methadone clinics to allow regulations to be adopted. That led CRC to file a federal civil rights lawsuit against the town. CRC then turned to the current proposed location at the intersection of Route 1 and Short Street.

Neighbors to the Route 1 proposal have appealed the planning board approval to the zoning board of appeals. The appeals board is scheduled to meet later this month.

The town tentatively settled the CRC lawsuit but it has not been formally dismissed as CRC awaits approval of its project. Warren has filed a motion to U.S. District Court in Portland to enforce terms of the settlement but CRC has opposed that request, saying the town has yet to approve the project both because of the pending appeal to the board of appeals but also because the Warren Sanitary District has not given its approval.

A hearing is scheduled for Monday, Sept. 17, in U.S. District Court of Portland on the town’s motion to enforce the settlement which required the town’s insurer to pay damages to CRC and approval of the project.

A special town meeting is scheduled for Thursday evening at 7 on whether to approve spending up to $60,000 more for legal fees associated with the methadone proposal.

http://bangordailynews.com/2012/09/03/news/midcoast/warren-planning-board-chair-resigns-after-methadone-clinic-controversy/ printed on November 27, 2014