Alpharetta officials move rehab center forward against neighbors’ wishes

In a vote for support, commission member Candy Waylock said she trusts the judgment of city staff which also recommended approval. . WIKIMEDIA COMMONS
In a vote for support, commission member Candy Waylock said she trusts the judgment of city staff which also recommended approval. . WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

After listening to residents’ worries over a substance abuse treatment center opening in their neighborhood, the Alpharetta Planning Commission, Thursday, supported the proposed development moving forward to City Council for approval.

In a vote for support, commission member Candy Waylock said she trusts the judgment of city staff which also recommended approval. The commission voted 5-2 in favor of building the center for drug and alcohol abuse. City Council is scheduled to discuss the facility for the first time in November.

The proposed 62-bed facility would be located in Alpharetta and borders Roswell homes in Taylor Oaks and Hembree Forest subdivisions. If approved by Alpharetta, Florida-based Advanced Recovery Systems would operate a rehabilitation center for patients ages 18 years and older who suffer from substance abuse and mental health disorders related to their addiction.

The center would open 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.

The Planning Commission approved a change in zoning to allow for substance abuse and related rehabilitation at the center. Conditions require outdoor activities to end at 8 p.m. and an inspection of the property’s detention facilities before a business license is issued.

The location was approved in 1995 for office and retail space, according to Alpharetta. It was developed in 1998 as The Veranda at Pointe Place, a memory care nursing home, which recently closed.

More than 100 residents signed a petition in April opposing a center that is yards away from their property. Many appeared at the meeting and told commission members that they fear for the safety of their children playing in the neighborhood and a decline in their property values if the treatment center opens.

Britt Argo, a former real estate agent, said she can walk from her yard onto the former nursing home property. And her 13-year-old daughter sometimes camps in the backyard, she added.

“I’m not going to feel comfortable having her sleep in the backyard with people that come and go at all hours of the night,” Argo said.

A wooded area at the edge of the former nursing home property is a buffer to the residents’ yards and Advanced Recovery Systems has agreed to add an eight-foot fence around part of the perimeter.

The proposed treatment center will continue to be a contentious topic leading up to the November City Council meeting. A March letter to sent to Alpharetta officials from Rolader stated that if the application for new zoning and the facility is not approved, he could file a lawsuit on behalf of Advanced Recovery Systems.

In Other News