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Appeal promised in methadone clinic case |

Appeal promised in methadone clinic case

| Thursday, January 18, 2007 12:00 a.m

Freedom Healthcare Services plans to appeal Monroeville Council’s rejection of its plan to put a methadone clinic in the Monroeville Industrial Park, a company official said.

Mike Dokmanovich, chief executive officer, said the Bethel Park-based company will fight the council’s decision that the clinic doesn’t qualify as a “hospital” and, therefore, doesn’t belong in an industrial zone.

“We feel that it does meet the criteria of a hospital,” he said.

The municipality’s zoning ordinances designate commercial zones for medical clinics, but Freedom asked the council to classify the facility as a hospital, which is allowed in an industrial zone.

The Southwest Greensburg Council, in Westmoreland County, unanimously rejected a similar request Dec. 13. Freedom Healthcare Services had proposed placing a methadone clinic in the Westmoreland Crossroads Plaza, a new strip mall near the base of the Route 30 overpass on Route 119.

The proposed Monroeville clinic would dispense methadone to as many as 300 patients on weekday mornings and conduct counseling sessions for an undetermined number of people throughout the day and into the evening. Methadone is a synthetic narcotic that has been used for 30 years to treat addiction to heroin, morphine and other opiates.

Opponents of the plan argued that making the park a focus for drug addicts would increase the incidence of crime — particularly at a pharmacy across the street from the 300 Seco Road site proposed for the clinic. They also argued that the amount of customer traffic the clinic would generate doesn’t fit the nature of an industrial park, where most of the traffic consists of employees and delivery trucks.

In making the motion to deny the request, council member Dave Kucherer said the facility is not a hospital and, therefore, doesn’t belong in the industrial park.

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