Friday October 12, 2012

South Burlington board opposes methadone clinic

SOUTH BURLINGTON (AP) -- The South Burlington School Board has unanimously approved a resolution opposing the location of a methadone clinic near the city’s schools.

The board has appealed a zoning permit for the HowardCenter clinic, saying the city did not adequately assess the impact of traffic on the neighborhood or possible security problems that could affect students.

More than 30 parents spoke out against the clinic’s plan Wednesday night, with many acknowledging the need for the clinic but calling the proposed location inappropriate, the Burlington Free Press (http://bfpne.ws/WV1Nnt) reported. The resolution authorizes the superintendent to take appropriate steps to oppose the clinic, including legal action.

Concerns that the board is saying "Not in my backyard" to a worthy need are off base, said Board Chairman Richard Cassidy to the crowd of more than 100. "This is not just any backyard, but the backyard with the most vulnerable population."

The nonprofit HowardCenter wants to move its clinic from the University Health Center near the University of Vermont, which it has outgrown, to offices on Dorset Street, about a quarter mile from Tuttle Middle School and the high school.

The number of clients is expected to increase from 400 who are treated for heroin and opioid prescription drug addictions to 600 at the new site.


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Todd Centybear, director of the HowardCenter, says existing clinics have operated without incident and have not led to an increase in crime or congestion.

The Development Review Board will hold a hearing on the school board’s appeal at 7 p.m., Oct. 16 at City Hall. The DRB then has 45 days to decide whether to uphold the permit. That decision can be appealed to the state Environmental Court.

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Information from: The Burlington Free Press, http://www.burlingtonfreepress.com