Zoning appeal petition withdrawn for sober living home in rural Centerville

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A request from a Cambridge City addiction treatment center to modify zoning for a home in rural Centerville to become a sober living transitional residence for its clients has been withdrawn.

About 70 residents attended an April 11 meeting of the Wayne County Board of Zoning Appeals, with no one speaking in favor of the petition that would allow the special exception for the existing home and 10-acre property at 4446 Stevens Road, Centerville, owned by Mark Alan Baldwin.

The petition was withdrawn by the petitioners April 16, and will not be heard at the regularly scheduled May 9 meeting of the Board of Zoning Appeals in the Commissioners and Council Chambers of the Wayne County Administration Building, according to a media release sent Thursday by Laura Winchester, Wayne County Planning & Floodplain Administrator.

Applicant Matt Rice, representative for CapGrow Partners LLC and Pinnacle Treatment Centers, described why the Cambridge City-based Pinnacle treatment center sought the property in Abington Township to be a special placement dwelling. Pinnacle wants to create a non-institutionalized living facility for individuals receiving outpatient treatment for narcotics addiction after completing their residential stay.

Six clients would have lived in the home for 20 to 30 days before transitioning out. Rice told the zoning appeals board the residents would be at Pinnacle for several hours during the day for counseling, meetings and programs, and then would have returned as a group to the property. An employee was to always be with clients whenever they were on the property, transporting them as a group to evening addiction support groups as needed.

Residents gave a variety of reasons for their opposition, including concerns about a reduction in their property values, additional traffic on the narrow rural road, the amount of time it would take for first responders to get to the property, and concerns about whether addiction recovery clients would have a criminal background. Some suggested that Pinnacle should find a property closer to a local town that could be monitored more closely by law enforcement.

County officials received a variety of comments at the meeting as well as letters, emails, phone calls and in-person visits before the meeting, with one person showing support for the project.

According to the Board of Zoning Appeals Rules of Procedure, “No case which has been withdrawn by the petitioner shall again be placed on file for consideration by the Board within a period of six (6) months from the date of said withdrawal.”

Pinnacle and CapGrow Partners LLC could return to the BZA to seek an exception for another property if desired.

By Millicent Martin Emery