UPATE: Vienna City Council passes first reading of an ordinance to consider treatment facility moratorium
VIENNA, W.Va. (WTAP) - UPDATE 7/22/2021 8:27 P.M.
Vienna City Council votes 5-1 to move forward with an ordinance to put a pause on residential treatment facilities and housing. Kim Williams voted against it.
This was the first reading. Council will vote on the second reading at its next meeting in August.
Council talked for about an hour about the measure before taking a vote.
Many members of the council say this is not a permanent solution. Some council members say they take issue with what they call the lack of transparency about where these treatment houses are going. Some of them argued this pause would help them better define the rules of these houses.
Council also talked about the status of the Johns Manville property. It is in the final stages of mediation.
Speaking of development, the council plans to have a public meeting at the Community Building about developing Spencer’s Landing. The mayor says they are waiting on a $350,000 check from the federal government to develop the kayak launch, and are waiting until they get that check to go further.
Also, the council talked about how it wants to use American Rescue Plan money. Some members of the council want it to go to the Vienna Utility Board. The mayor suggested council members submit their plans so that their ideas can make it onto the agenda and a vote can be taken.
The city of Vienna is the latest seeking a temporary ban against substance abuse residential treatment facilities.
The measure is to be voted on at Vienna City Council’s meeting Thursday night. It begins at 6:00 at the Vienna City Building’s council chambers.
The ordinance specifically mentions group residential facilities and homes. It says West Virginia law does not have rules about where they can be located, or their permitted uses, and that the legislature needs to address that issue.
And Mayor Randy Rapp says he’s had complaints from residents about homes located in their neighborhoods.
”When I receive a phone call from a woman who has four children, and who sleeps with a baseball bat, and is crying her eyes out, I don’t like those kinds of phone calls,” Rapp said Wednesday. “It’s just something we need as a city, to understand these rules, and how these things are progressing.”
Parkersburg City Council next Tuesday, July 27, is scheduled to vote on second reading of an ordinance placing a similar moratorium on treatment centers and related homes.
Parkersburg Attorney George Cosenza says such moratoriums could be subject to review by federal courts.
”If it goes on, and now, there are facilities that want to open and the city is not allowing it,” Cosenza said Wednesday morning on “Daybreak”, “now, you’re going to see a court battle, and the city might come out on the wrong side of that issue.”>
Like Parkersburg’s proposed law, Vienna’s ordinance calls for a moratorium through June 30, 2022.
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