Pubdate: Sat, 08 Jan 2005
Source: Bangor Daily News (ME)
Copyright: 2005 Bangor Daily News Inc.
Author: Dawn Gagnon


BANGOR - As Colonial Management Group continues to work toward a March 
opening for its Bangor methadone clinic, city officials are considering a 
moratorium on any other drug treatment centers that might come their way. 
On the agenda of Monday night's City Council meeting, which begins at 7:30 
p.m. at City Hall, is a proposed ordinance that would place a 180-day 
moratorium on issuing certificates of occupancy for drug treatment facilities.

If necessary, the moratorium could be extended for an additional 180 days, 
according to the proposed council order.

The moratorium was prompted by Colonial Management Group's plan for a 
clinic at Maine Square Mall, a busy retail shopping center across Hogan 
Road from the Bangor Mall.

Colonial's plan caught the city off guard, largely because Acadia Hospital 
already had been running a methadone program for more than three years.

The moratorium would not apply to Colonial's proposal, which already is in 
the pipeline and as such would be grandfathered, or exempted, from the 
measure, City Solicitor Norman Heitmann said Friday.

Headquartered in Orlando, Fla., Colonial Management Group operates nearly 
50 clinics in 17 states, including nearby New Hampshire.

The company has picked Bangor as the site for its first clinic in Maine and 
is in the process of obtaining the needed state and federal approvals.

When the licensing process will be completed remained unclear Friday.

"I haven't heard anything," Heitmann said.

Kim Johnson, director of the state's Office of Substance Abuse, couldn't be 
reached for comment Friday.

The point of the moratorium is to give the newly established Special 
Committee on Land Use Policy Governing Medical Facilities time to review 
current regulations regarding all types of medical facilities, including 
methadone clinics, and, if appropriate, to implement the panel's 
recommendations before any new clinics open, City Manager Edward Barrett 
said Friday.

Members of the special committee, established last month by the council, 
will be named soon, possibly next week, Barrett said.

On Monday, the ordinance will undergo a first reading and be referred to 
the council's transportation and infrastructure committee, which is slated 
to discuss it during a Jan. 18 meeting.

After the committee is finished with its review, the moratorium proposal 
will return to the full council for a decision.

On Friday, Lynn Costigan, Colonial's associate director for new 
development, said construction at the clinic site in the Maine Square Mall 
was on schedule.

Work crews are down to finishing touches, and next will come furniture and 
equipment, Costigan said Friday in a telephone interview.

"I'm in the process of interviewing [applicants for the clinic's staff]," 
she said.

Costigan also said that she and other Colonial officials were still putting 
together their responses to the city's written list of roughly 30 questions 
raised by city officials and the public during a late November workshop at 
City Hall.

The company's written responses will be shared with city councilors and the 
public, council Chairman Frank Farrington said during the November session.
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