Neighbors take shots at rehab center
A proposed zoning amendment to allow care facilities with more than six people in residential districts drew fire at a county Planning Commission meeting last week.
More than 20 people showed up at the Nevada County Planning Commission meeting to oppose a Cedar Avenue drug and alcohol treatment center, Mountain Haven Center for Better Living.
The facility is ready to open soon for as many as six clients – the current limit under county zoning in residential neighborhoods.
One of the facility’s owners, Cheryl Greene, urged planning commissioners to approve the amendment that would allow the facility to house more people.
Greene said people seeking treatment for alcoholism are nonviolent and want to remain anonymous and private.
“Just because people are seeking care, doesn’t mean they’re violent,” said Greene. “My clients won’t even be seen or heard.”
Greene and two others purchased the 6,185-square-foot former convalescent home at 10716 Cedar Avenue, near Condon Park, to start Mountain Haven.
John Barsby, a Cedar Avenue resident, said he does not feel comfortable with a facility that’s going to bring in drug and alcohol addicts. He said the for-profit facility should be in the commercial district, not a residential area.
Troyia Smith-Myers, of Cedar Avenue, said she does not want to live with the facility because she moved here to live in a “nice, rural neighborhood.”
Resistance to the zoning amendment has spread to neighborhoods beyond Cedar Avenue.
Banner Mountain resident Jeff Toff said the amendment is so overly broad it erodes the zoning ordinance, allowing sex offenders and juvenile halls.
Planning commissioners deferred the issue until Feb. 27. They want more information on what other communities are doing.
Commissioner Marshall Goldberg said he didn’t like the amendment’s lack of upper limits. If approved, the zoning amendment would require a use permit for facilities with more than six people. Planning commissioners could also limit the amendment to certain residential districts.
Commissioner Sharon Boivin noted there is a need for treatment facilities, including foster homes, transitional facilities and mental illness care givers.
Boivin was hopeful the commission could find some creative ways to protect zoning by breaking out certain types of uses. “These are not our enemies, these are our neighbors who need these facilities,” she said.
In other business, the Lake Wildwood Association has put off plans to install granite monuments for the Lake Wildwood entrances, said Mark Tomich, the county’s planning director.
A petition opposing the monument was signed by 152 people who believe the polished granite monument doesn’t fit in with the area’s rustic, rural aesthetic.
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