News and Tribune

November 6, 2012

Pain management restrictions approved for Jeffersonville

Communications director position moved again


JEFFERSONVILLE — Restrictions allowing pain management clinics to locate in Jeffersonville passed on their final readings Monday night.

The Jeffersonville City Council passed two measures that will restrict where the clinics that offer pain prescriptions to patients can locate, limiting the businesses to industrial zones and keeping them from locating within 1,000 feet of a place of worship, a school, public park or the boundary of a residential district. The restrictions also limited the distance two pain management clinics are allowed to locate between one another.

Additional zoning restrictions were in response to Clark County Wellness, LLC, which opened a location along Maple Street in July in a residential neighborhood.

Despite the contentious nature surrounding the clinic located in the Franklin Commons neighborhood, no one spoke for or against the additional restrictions at the public hearing held during the council meeting. And even with the additional restrictions passed Monday, the changes will not impact Clark County Wellness.

“They’re grandfathered in,” said City Attorney Les Merkley.

He said as long as the pain clinic doesn’t expand and as long as it stays open continuously, the new restrictions passed will have no affect on the business.

While tougher restrictions were being drafted, the city council passed a moratorium from pain management clinics locating in the city. The moratorium is set to run out in early January.

The first ordinance approved was an amendment to the city’s zoning code — 2000-OR-61 — that allows pain management clinics to locate only in I-2, industrial zones. The city’s planning commission offered a favorable recommendation for the ordinance that passed unanimously on its second and third readings. Council members Matt Owen and Connie Sellers were absent from the meeting.

The second ordinance offered the additional limitations, restricting the clinics to 1,000 feet of the various businesses. The ordinance unanimously passed on all three readings.

“Obviously, we’re not banning pain management clinics, but we are basically saying where they are going to be located and at the end of the day we’ve got an ordinance that reflects the best interest of the citizens,” Merkley said.

Councilman Mike Smith offered his thanks to Merkley and the council moving quickly on approving the restrictions.

“The council, we moved as fast as we possibly could, especially with the moratorium that we set in place three or four months ago,” he said. “And now with this, I think it’s really going to help all of the city’s districts, not just the [districts] in downtown.”

Communications director position moved again

Changes were again made to who will likely supervise the city’s communications director.

The council approved two changes on their first readings for a salary ordinance related to the city’s communications director position. The first ordinance was a reduction of appropriations, and the second was an appropriation by reduction taking the money from the mayor’s budget designated for the communication’s director in 2012 and putting it under the control of the city clerk’s budget.

“Once this is finally passed, they’re going to move the position and the money appropriation from the mayor ... and then place it under the city clerk,” said City Council Attorney Scott Lewis.

However, at the council’s Oct. 22 meeting, a change was made to place the city’s position under the park’s department for 2013.

City Council President Ed Zastawny said long-term the plan is to change next year’s salary ordinance to reflect the decision to move the job into the clerk’s office.

“I think what it was one — to get it an arm’s length away from the mayor,” he said. “The mayor’s not here every day to manage somebody. The clerk does a lot relating to communications, and retaining documents ... we thought maybe that was the best place to go. I think we’re still refining the position and the proper placement in the organization.”

The city’s former communication’s director, Leah Farris, was fired Oct. 26 and she has retained legal counsel following her termination.

The vacancy for the position is already posted on the city’s website and is now being called a public relations officer.

Taco Bell

A site plan for a new Taco Bell restaurant, to be located in the parking lot of the Rural King on 10th Street, near Allison Lane, was unanimously approved.

The plan came to the council with a favorable recommendation from the planning commission for a new building that would be located on about one acre of parking lot space south of the Pizza Hut in the same parking lot.

Todd Huntington, project coordinator with the GPD Group, said another Taco Bell location on 10th street will remain open.

Merkley suggested that instead of enforcing a requirement for developers to provide sidewalks in front of a new building, the city asked the developer to place the money for the sidewalks into a fund it will use in the future to construct the sidewalks.