JEFFERSONVILLE — The Jeffersonville City Council will have a public hearing Monday night regarding a proposed zoning amendment that would clarify where alcohol and drug rehabilitation clinics can be located.
The Jeffersonville Plan Commission provided a favorable recommendation for the proposal during its Tuesday meeting.
“There’s a rather broad spectrum of treatment options out there from general counseling to in-patient treatment with medication. Our staff gets several questions about this frequently,” said Chad Reischl, planning and zoning director for the city.
A 2012 ordinance provided some definitions and standards specifically for pain management clinics, but that measure was never fully integrated into the zoning code, he continued.
“Some hairs were recently raised when a drug and alcohol counseling center was allowed to open on a [office commercial zoning code] where it was permitted by right in an otherwise commercial area,” Reischl said.
The current zoning code allows drug and rehabilitation clinics as a permitted or by special exception in several zoning districts.
In his staff report to the plan commission, Reischl said the proposed change would “ensure that some further safeguards are in place to create more clarity around where these types of facilities are allowed, and how to prevent another case like this from catching us off guard.”
Changes also would include clear definitions for in-patient and out-patient substance abuse treatment facilities and pain management clinics.
Some of the amendments would specify which zoning districts can allow clinics by special exception. The location standards are being put in place “so that we are protecting schools, homes and parks” and other common public-use facilities, Reischl said.
Another goal is to keep from having multiple treatment and pain management clinics stacked near each other, he continued.
City Attorney Les Merkely, said clarity is a big part of the amendments. If the city were ever in a situation where it had to defend a decision related to treatment clinics, a court might view the existing ordinance as vague or overly broad, he said.
“We’ve been working on this for quite some time,” Merkely said. “Our code did not define a drug rehabilitation clinic.”
Monday’s council meeting at 7 p.m. will be virtual and can be viewed via the Jeffersonville Facebook page. Public comments will be accepted in writing and must be submitted to Jeffersonville City Clerk Lisa Gill by noon Friday.
The public hearing will be shortly after the meeting begins.