SAN MATEO COUNTY: Planning Commissioners Block Methadone Clinic
San Mateo County planning commissioners voted Wednesday against a plan that would have put the Professional Treatment Inc. methadone clinic in a residential neighborhood near Redwood City and Atherton, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. While the clinic has operated for 28 years on Redwood City's Arguello Street, a developer wants to build offices on the site and has ordered the clinic out. Clinic officials chose a vacant building at Fifth and Glendale avenues in the North Fair Oaks neighborhood. The county's staff planners recommended the commissioners approve the move, saying that the clinic "provides a diversity" of uses and could "revitalize" the area. During a four-hour debate Wednesday, about 50 people spoke about the clinic's move. Critics argued that the clinic would bring strangers into their neighborhood, cause safety concerns, lower property values and induce heavy traffic. But clinic manager Donna Dean said that clinic visitors "want to get in, get out and get on with their lives." After the debate, Commissioner Ralph Nobles said that a "residential neighborhood is not the proper location for a methadone clinic. I reject the proposition that this is the only place this clinic can be put in this county." Professional Treatment President Bill Edelman said that the clinic is appealing the decision, which supervisors are scheduled to hear April 25. But supervisors "could be faced with a complicated legal question," as a federal judge ruled last month that according to civil rights law, a methadone clinic could move into a residential neighborhood in Antioch despite the city's claims that it would be unsafe. Further, rejecting a clinic without evidence that it is unsafe would violate the Americans With Disabilities Act, among other federal laws (Wilson, 4/13).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.