Planning commission delays decision on Highland Estates processing facility

Wasatch Crest Treatment Facility is applying for a permit to use the former BeeHive Homes retirement home in Park City as a treatment center. The 11,000 square foot building is on Highland Drive near its intersection with Old Ranch Road.

Some patients would be in substance detox and others would be enrolled in a longer residential addiction recovery program.

On Tuesday evening, at the second public hearing on the proposal, neighbors raised concerns about litter, parking and safety. Several called for the number of patients to be capped at 16, the same number that was allowed at BeeHive. Many commissioners cited these concerns in their decision not to approve or deny the permit.

The Wasatch Crest plan originally called for 32 patients; the latest proposal calls for 28. Neighbors and commissioners, including Thomas Cooke, suggested this was still too much.

“To me, it’s just that it’s twice as many people as before, and that doesn’t seem reasonable,” Cooke said.

Neighbor Merilee Riely agreed.

“There is always an occupancy issue at this establishment,” Riely said. “And, honestly, with such occupation, it becomes a danger. I’m not against this type of establishment. But it’s – I’ve been in it. It would be horrible for someone to try to rehabilitate themselves in this establishment with the occupancy it requires.

According to documents Wasatch Crest submitted to the county, the proposal includes more space, larger beds and more patient bathrooms than required by state law.

Commissioner Tyann Mooney asked for more information about the type of patients who would use the facility. She said security is an issue with the proposal, which many neighbors also said.

The commission was told it had limited power to regulate the facility due to its classification as a group home. A report from Summit County staff members said the commission should assess the application as it would for a single-family home application.

A land use lawyer representing Wasatch Crest, Paxton Guymon, told the commission that the staff report was “perfect”. He said state and federal laws prohibit housing discrimination against people with disabilities, and people who need residential treatment to recover from addiction are considered disabled.

“You would be walking on very thin ice to deny a conditional use where the plaintiff has gone to such an extent to mitigate reasonably anticipated adverse effects to a housing group that is protected by state and federal law,” he said. told the committee.

Summit County Assistant Attorney Lynda Viti, however, told the commission that state law does not explicitly include addiction as a disability.

Cooke said it went against what the commissioners had already said.

“You know, I have to be very clear, this idea that there’s nothing we can do and it’s a protected class and we just have to auto-approve it – based on what I’m reading and based on our attorney’s advice, that’s actually not true,” Cooke said. “So the idea that we’re walking on thin ice, what we’re really talking about here is mitigating known impacts to the community.”

The planning commissioners asked for more information on the legal situation, the number of proposed customers and the other impacts the installation could have on the neighbors.

The public hearing was closed, although the commission may schedule another one. No date has been set for the next public debate on the proposal.

About Antoine L. Cassell

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