Pubdate: Thu, 01 Feb 2001
Source: Redding Record Searchlight (CA)
Copyright: 2001 Redding Record Searchlight - E.W. Scripps
Contact:  PO Box 492397, Redding, CA 96049-2397


Redding planning commissioners did a favor for the California penal system 
the other day, while at the same time doing a disservice for many of our 

The Redding Planning Commission's willingness to allow drug treatment 
facilities in residential areas will help relieve overcrowding in our 
jails, but the tradeoff is allowing addicts to live in city neighborhoods. 
Our Planning Commission last week basically decided it is okay to relax 
requirements for residential areas to accommodate these drug treatment 
facilities. We think that this less-restrictive interpretation of the 
general plan done by the commission is something that Redding's City 
Council should be deciding and examining with a magnifying glass.

We agree with Fred Weatherill, the only planning commissioner who sounded 
the alarm about setting a precedent of permitting drug recovery centers 
next door to single-family residences. "These treatment facilities are 
quasi-penal and that use is inappropriate in any residential area," he 
said. Amen to Mr. Weatherill.

The overall commission approved a scaled-down drug and alcohol recovery 
center on Kenyon Drive in south Redding and signaled it would allow similar 
operations in the future. The state is going to need a lot more of these 
centers after July to accommodate Proposition 36, which will steer 
nonviolent drug offenders into treatment programs instead of putting them 
behind bars. Yet again, we have California voters approving a ballot 
initiative without knowing the consequences.

The commission's action allows End Times Ministries to continue offering 
drug and alcohol services at the Kenyon Drive locale. The program serves 
state prison parolees and other people either referred to its program by 
judges and probation departments or men who have flunked workplace drug 
tests. Walk-ins also are welcome. A use permit was approved on the 
condition that End Times cut back its operation from a 25-bed facility to 
14 clients.

End Times actually has a good track record and was supported by some 70 
neighbors. "We have never caused any problems on this road," House Manager 
Dick Kimbrough said. End Times officials helped their cause by landscaping 
their property and repainting the former church compound.

It was easier to justify End Times' application because it was an existing 
use and enjoyed neighborhood support. It will be drug recovery centers 
spawned by Proposition 36 that will incite more controversy and require 
more discussion down the road. You can bet on that.

Redding's general plan already permits day care centers, older adult care 
centers, churches, small markets and schools in residential neighborhoods. 
The difference in adding drug treatment centers to the mix is that many of 
their clients are from different walks of life. After July, many would've 
been in jail on drug charges if not for Proposition 36.

The City Council should step in and consider whether these drug halfway 
houses really are appropriate in neighborhoods where children live or 
attend schools. Better sites certainly can be found in rural areas or 
commercial districts. We wonder how many people who voted for Proposition 
36 realized that these drug centers could very well be their next-door 
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MAP posted-by: Jo-D