Vt. methadone clinic faces another possible delay
The Associated Press | December 30,2012
SOUTH BURLINGTON — A proposed a methadone clinic near schools in South Burlington is facing another possible delay.
The South Burlington Development Review Board will be asked at its meeting Wednesday to hold another hearing based on claims that a board member had an improper private communication about the case.
If the hearing is granted, that could push back a decision on whether the clinic can open by at least 15 days or longer.
The request to reopen the hearing alleges an “ex parte” communication took place, said South Burlington Zoning Administrator Ray Belair. He said he had no other information on the request and referred questions to planning and zoning director Paul Conner, who was out of town and could not be reached for comment, the Burlington Free Press reported.
The clinic was at first approved and then appealed by the South Burlington School District, which argued that the facility for heroin and Oxycodone addicts could bring crime and traffic to the proposed site near the city’s high school and middle school.
The board had until Jan. 4 to issue a written decision on the appeal.
But if the hearing is reopened, the board would have to warn of a hearing with 15 days notice and could continue the meeting indefinitely.
Once the meeting is closed, the board would have 45 days to issue a decision.
The HowardCenter, a Burlington nonprofit agency, has proposed opening the new clinic on Dorset Street, to serve about 650 clients. It would close two smaller clinics in Burlington and South Burlington. The proposed site is about 500 feet from Frederick Tuttle Middle School and 1,000 feet from South Burlington High School.
HowardCenter, which hoped to open the clinic this year, has threatened to sue the city under federal anti-discrimination law.
It also unsuccessfully sought to dismiss the school district appeal.