Some Lindon residents are wary of the request to amend a town commercial zoning ordinance that could allow a substance abuse rehabilitation center to open for business here.
A handful of residents turned up at the City Council's public hearing Tuesday night to voice concerns about security issues and the effect on property values if such a facility is built in Lindon.Prompting the discussion is the Gryphon Center, which would like to locate a substance abuse rehabilitation center on State Street, north of a bed-and-breakfast establishment and across the street from Lindon City Park.
The Planning Commission has already established zoning restrictions on the proposed facility.
A spokesman for Gryphon tried to allay the security concerns expressed by residents and City Council members.
"No one will be walking out of there and showing up at your house," said Frank Colby. "This is a hospital. You're going to see a building, you're not going to see people. This facility is not a criminal facility. Not all drug addicts are criminals. If they have a criminal record, they do not come. Their problems could be anything from dependence on alcohol, pain pills, Prozac, or it could be President Clinton's problem. These are people who you would never think had these types of problems."
Colby added the 48-bed facility won't have a fence outside or bars on the windows or armed guards. But it will be heavily secured, equipped with camera surveillance and a staff of 28 employees. Patients, who will stay 28 days, will wear orange jumpsuits and will not be allowed any outside communication.
"Nobody will walk out without (center officials) knowing it," he said.
Those who will stay at the center will be from out of state, Colby said. The clientele will be made up of men between the ages of 29 and 45, many of whom work for the federal government and major corporations, which include a "Three Strike" clause in their employee insurance contracts.
The clause states that if an employee violates drug or alcohol abuse policies, they can volunteer to undergo intensive rehabilitation or else they will be terminated from the job.
Gryphon will contract with insurance companies to offer a substance abuse program for their clients.
"We're not there to make a prisoner out of them," Colby said. "The clientele we will deal with won't want to escape. They want to get well."
Council members were quick to remind residents that the location of the proposed facility is a moot point for now, and that the task at hand is to decide whether to amend the commercial zone ordinance.
The Planning Commission offered various restrictions to amending the ordinance: that the facility does not front State Street; that it is 200 feet from State Street; that patients do not have felony records; that it not be an outpatient facility or a halfway house; that it not be close to a school, church or day-care facility.
The council decided to have city attorneys draft an ordinance with various stipulations, in addition to the ones made by the Planning Commission, including security matters and the maximum occupancy of the facility.
The issue will be revisited at the next City Council meeting Oct. 6.