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October 2, 2012

Limiting the pain: Pain management ordinance passes first reading

JEFFERSONVILLE — The Jeffersonville City Council took its first step in trying to limit where pain management clinics can locate within the city.

Jeffersonville imposed a moratorium in August, keeping pain management clinics from locating in the city, after Clark County Wellness, LLC opened a location along Maple Street in July.

Residents and the city have expressed concerns about the clinic since it opened and the amount of out-of-state residents visiting the clinic, along with its impact to the Franklin Commons neighborhood.

“Right now, the city has a moratorium on the establishment of any new pain management clinics within the city of Jeffersonville,” said City Attorney Les Merkley. “We cannot ban pain management clinics. We can regulate where they can be located.”

Merkley added the moratorium is set to run out in early-January.

The resolution — 2012-R-16 — which was introduced by Councilman Mike Smith, would change the zoning allowance for a pain management clinic to only being allowed to locate within what’s known as I-2, industrial zones.

In addition to the resolution, an ordinance was introduced to regulate the location of pain management clinics within the zoning code.

Merkley explained that the ordinance would further limit the location of future pain management clinics.

The ordinance would limit a clinic from locating within 1,000 feet of a place of worship, a school, public park or within 1,000 feet of the boundary of a residential district. It also limited the allowable distance between two pain management clinics.

“When this is all said and done, on how this is written, there is only one place pain clinics will be able to be is an industrial zone,” Merkley said.

The resolution was unanimously approved. It will be referred to the Jeffersonville Planning and Zoning Commission for approval and should be returned, with a recommendation, at the council’s first November meeting. The ordinance — 2012-OR-46 — also passed on its first reading.

While the changes to the zoning code may limit future pain management clinics, little can legally be done about the Clark County Wellness clinic located in the residential neighborhood.

Merkley said as long as there are no changes made to the building, the clinic could continue operations as a non-conforming use and it would not be affected by the ordinance.

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