By Jeremy Schwartz
Peninsula Daily News
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Craig Phillips of Spokane, who has applied for a city conditional-use permit for the clinic, set the meeting at 825 E. Fifth St., the site of the proposed facility.
He invites homeowners in the area and the general public to attend.
Phillips said he and Sally Beaven, who would manage the clinic, will answer questions and address concerns.
June 11 vote
Tonight's meeting is set for a week and a day before the city Planning Commission will hear public comment and vote on the conditional-use permit application at 6 p.m. June 11 in City Council chambers at City Hall, 321 E. Fifth St.
The commission, an advisory group that often serves to make recommendations to the council, can approve the permit outright.
Written public comment of the permit application will be accepted until June 9, City Planning Manager Sue Roberds said.
Comments can be emailed to Roberds at email@example.com; mailed to the city at P.O. Box 1150, Port Angeles, WA 98362; or dropped off at City Hall at 321 E. Fifth St.
The proposed center would treat adults with substance abuse addictions over the course of 30 to 90 days, Phillips said, depending on the need of the individual.
The clients would live in the center — the former site of Port Angeles Care Center, a former adult care home which closed in 2008 — and be monitored by staff 24 hours a day, Phillips said.
Once clients complete treatment, center staff would secure transportation for them and make sure they have a place to live, not necessarily in Port Angeles, he added.
Phillips said he is the business manager for Spokane-based American Behavioral Health Systems, which operates similar facilities in Spokane and Chehalis.
The Port Angeles center, if approved, would be operated under a company Phillips started called Speciality Services.
He serves as a managing member of the board of the company, which he said operates separately from American Behavioral Health Systems.
Crali Properties purchased the Port Angeles building in March for $175,000, according to the Clallam County Assessor's Office.
Phillips is listed as the governing person for both American Behavioral Health Systems and Crali Properties, according to state business licenses records.
The Speciality Services-run treatment program in Port Angeles would be moved from Chehalis, and the Fifth Street center's first clients would be from there, Phillips said, though local clients would be referred to the center as beds become available.
Phillips said he started the Speciality Services-run program about a year ago as a pilot project in collaboration with the state Department of Social and Health Services.
This program currently runs out of the same building as the larger American Behavioral Health Systems treatment program in Chehalis, Phillips said.
After the pilot project proved viable and that it could be made permanent, Phillips said, federal guidelines required it move out of the American Behavioral Health Systems building and be in its own space, hence the move to Port Angeles.
The Port Angeles clinic likely would employ between 20 and 25 people, Phillips added.
The permit application came into the city's Planning Department May 21, a day after council members voted 6-1 to approve a rezone of the Fifth Street property and two others along Race Street.
The vote changed the zoning from single-family residential to commercial office, a move needed for the treatment center to become a reality.
Councilwoman Cherie Kidd voted against the rezone, saying she felt the city already has a dearth of unoccupied commercial space in the downtown core.
“I think we need to focus on our empty buildings before we create new commercial space in our residential and recreational areas,” Kidd said, referring to the proximity of the properties to Civic Field and Erickson Playfield.
“This just doesn't seem to be a good fit for me at this point in time.”
Civic Field, playground
Port Angeles resident Penny Becker said during the public comment period at the May 20 council meeting that she was concerned about such a treatment clinic being close to Civic Field, where many school sports are played, and a large city playground.
Civic Field and Erickson Playfield lie to the northwest along Race Street between Fourth and Second streets.
Becker said she wanted the decision on the rezone to be delayed until more information on the clinic's impacts could be gathered.
Nathan West, the city's community and economic development director, said the council's decision dealt strictly with the rezone and did not address proposed uses of the properties.
Phillips said the proposed facility will take up a portion of the Fifth Street building.
The conditional-use permit Phillips has applied for includes a proposed detoxification center for the same building, though Phillips said this would come later, depending on funding availability.
Representatives of the North Olympic Peninsula treatment community have assured Phillips the new center would serve a great need, he added.
“[The treatment community] made me believe and really encouraged me to move forward,” he said.
Jude Anderson, Clallam County treatment coordinator, said currently there are no residential chemical dependency treatment centers on the North Olympic Peninsula.
The closest is the Kitsap Recovery Center in Bremerton, Anderson said.
The purchase of the Fifth Street building and remodeling is funded by a $450,000 grant from the state Department of Social and Health Services, Phillips said.
Reporter Jeremy Schwartz can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5074, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.