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Augusta residents oppose drug treatment facility

Residents in south Augusta are fighting in an effort to keep a drug and alcohol treatment facility out of their neighborhood. On Aug. 5, the Augusta Planning Commission held a hearing where proponents of the facility spent nearly an hour answering questions about the plan. However, many residents remain convinced that allowing the Georgia Recovery Center for Impaired Professionals to open a center would cause disruption and present a danger to their quiet community.

Georgia law requires a hearing before the Planning Commission. A zoning hearing will be held in approximately six month. More than 300 residents signed a petition asking the city to deny the request. Some opponents fear that residents of the center may wander away and endanger elderly neighbors or children living in the area. An attorney in favor of the center offered to work with residents to address their concerns; however, many citizens have vowed to continue their fight.

The proposed facility is a treatment center geared toward treating professionals with alcohol or substance abuse program. With treatment costing $90,000 to $120,000 per month, the facility primarily targets doctors, lawyer and other professionals. Residents at the center must go through a detoxification before entering the center, which means that there will be no active drug users at the center. A similar center in Florida operating in conjunction with a local university is reported to have been successful with no negative impact on the community.

When a person or company wishes to open a business, zoning issues may present a barrier. Zoning requirements dictate what types of buildings are permitted in a given area. A local real estate attorney may be able to assist with seeking a variance from the local authorities.

Source: Augusta Chronicle, "Neighbors oppose upscale rehab facility in south Augusta", Tom Corwin, August 05, 2013

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