Alpharetta approves rehab center near Roswell homes

A Florida-based rehabilitation center for adult patients suffering from substance abuse will open in Alpharetta against the wishes of the city’s mayor and the Roswell homeowners living nearby.

The new location of Advanced Recovery Systems’ 62-bed facility will be located in Alpharetta and borders Roswell homes in the Taylor Oaks and Hembree Forest subdivisions.

Alpharetta City Council approved an amendment to a master plan for the 13-acre site last week, allowing for the establishment of the facility.

Advanced Recovery Systems plans to operate the rehabilitation center for patients ages 18 and older who suffer from substance abuse and mental health disorders related to their addiction. The center space is located inside an existing building on Pointe Place at the intersection of Upper Hembree Road and would offer both inpatient and outpatient care. Inpatient stays would range from 24-30 days, Advanced Recovery attorney Don Rolader said during the Nov. 15 City Council meeting.

Rolader said the new center will be a private pay medical facility for those who need help.

“…(The patients) are just like you and me and need treatment just as if they had cancer or a heart problem,” he said. “…They voluntarily submit to treatment to save their family, their job and in some cases their life,” Rolader said.

Alpharetta received 96 letters opposing the facility from nearby residents worried about safety and a decrease in property values, according to the city and Taylor Oaks resident Dawn Fix. She drafted a petition of residents, last spring, objecting to the rehabilitation center.

Fix told City Council her research found that as property values drop when they are located near such centers, the facilities are purchased by businesses operating “sober living homes” and transitional housing that have lower standards.

“… No drug rehab in Alpharetta is in a residential property backyard,” the Roswell resident said. “There are five within 0.3 miles of our homes. We don’t need another one right here. We need a good one but not this one.”

The center was approved with several conditions that include an eight-foot fence around part of the perimeter. In addition, outdoor gatherings and seating areas are limited to the north and east side of the building and no outdoor activity is allowed after 8 p.m.

Alpharetta Mayor Jim Gilvin, who voted against approval of the master plan amendment and conditions allowing for Advance Recovery Systems to move to the site, said he understood Roswell residents’ concerns.

“I think they have a right to be able to rely on that master plan and historically that’s what this council has done,” Gilvin said. “I don’t think it’s something we want in the city of Alpharetta … to have single family homes in the backyard of a treatment center … The fact is this is a land use discussion. Is it appropriate? Would we do it adjacent to a home in one of the neighborhoods that we do live in? I don’t think so. "