Trustees to get ball rolling on rehab restrictions

The West Chester Twp. trustees are expected to pass a zoning resolution Tuesday that would classify drug rehab centers as conditional uses, making it harder for a Mason doctor to locate one across from the Pisgah Youth Organization ball fields.

For nearly five months trustees have heard dozens of people speak out about the how the plans to open a drug rehab in an old nursing home on Ohio 42 would be harmful. Most said drug addicts need the help Dr. Mohamed Aziz can provide, but they said they find the location troubling.

After placing a nine-month moratorium on drug rehab centers, the trustees on Aug. 23 approved a first reading of a resolution that puts restrictions on such facilities.

The resolution creates a new “use” category called institutional care facilities and permits them with conditions determined by the Board of Zoning Appeals (BZA), but only in commercial and manufacturing districts. One of the things the BZA must consider is “whether the essential character of the neighborhood would be substantially altered or whether adjoining properties would suffer a substantial detriment as a result of the variance.”

Trustee Board President Mark Welch said he fully expects the second reading to go off without a hitch.

“This will be the second reading, which means we are going to accept the terms of the resolution and get it going,” he said. “I don’t expect any fireworks from this at all, because it is a bundle of things.”

In the resolution the township is also banning sex clubs and putting restrictions on cell phone towers in neighborhoods.

Welch has said he doesn’t know at this point whether Aziz will be allowed to move into the building.

“After the moratorium is lifted at the end of the year, then Dr. Aziz will be able to go before the Board of Zoning Appeals, because his would be a conditional use and the BZA would determine whether or not he would be permitted to open a facility there,” Welch said.

Aziz told the Journal-News earlier a lawsuit might be his only option.

“Unfortunately our back is to the wall,” he has said. “That’s not a threat or anything; it’s just process thinking. If we cannot get their support then we have to seek it somewhere else. And that’s going to be a significant misuse of the taxpayers’ money.”

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