Alpine• A new drug and alcohol recovery facility may be operating in a residential neighborhood as soon as April much to the chagrin of some residents.
Last month, Alpine city officials approved a special provision allowing the Alpine Recovery Lodge to provide treatment to 12 patients.
The center offers drug and alcohol addiction rehabilitation to people who stay at the facility for 30 to 90 days.
Alpine Mayor Hunt Willoughby said federal laws allow the facility to be in a residential area in part because the patients they serve fall under a provision that categorizes them as disabled.
He said many residents have voiced concerns about theft and other crimes that could potentially occur as a result of having a group home facility near their neighborhood.
City code allows for up to four unrelated individuals to be housed in a residential area without rezoning. Treating only four patients wouldn't be profitable for the center, according to Alpine Recovery Lodge owner Amy Rothermel, which is why the business requested the city allow it to house 18 patients. .
The Alpine City Council on Jan. 29 approved a "reasonable accommodation request" for the center to host 12 patients, but expects the facility will be back to ask for more.
Despite public outcry about the group home's location, the city moved forward Tuesday by presenting evidence for why the facility can be housed in a residential area.
Rothermel said at the council meeting that although the center will not hire security guards, that it will be a secured facility with a 24-hour staff. Patients are already "detoxed" before entering the facility and the center's policy prohibits sexual offenders from receiving treatment at the facility, she said.
"We are in the middle of putting in a very detailed security system with alarms on all the doors, and video cameras," Rothermel said, adding that the building is currently undergoing some remodeling and upgrades to get the building up to code.
Willoughby said he feels it is "unfortunate" the city didn't have anything to quell residents' concerns, saying the city's hands are tied by federal law.