Pubdate: Fri, 19 Dec 2008
Source: Daily Pilot (Costa Mesa, CA)
Copyright: 2008 Daily Pilot
Author: Brianna Bailey


Newport Beach residents voiced frustrations Wednesday with drug and alcohol 
rehabilitation homes in the city at a hearing to decide whether the sober 
living home the Kramer Center should be allowed to keep its doors open.

"I am tired of these group home operators who take advantage of our 
amenities and beautiful beaches but do not observe city regulations," said 
Newport Beach resident Barbara Roy at the hearing.

The Kramer Center is a 12-bed, unlicensed treatment center that houses its 
clients in a duplex at 207 28th St. in Newport Beach.

The center's clients live in the house on 28th Street and attend daily 
meetings and classes at an office in Lido Marina Village on Via Lido.

The house functions as any group of people living together would, said 
Michelle Berner, an administrator for the Kramer Center, was quick to point 
out at the hearing.

"They sleep, eat, watch TV and shower," Berner said. "They do everything a 
normal household would do -- other than that they are not a family."

Some residents were concerned about recovering drug addicts living so close 
to families with children.

"It is inappropriate to have this in a neighborhood where there is children 
and families," said Newport Beach resident Joan McCarthy. "I don't like 
having it in my neighborhood."

In the past, the Kramer Center has had problems complying with city and 
state laws.

The treatment center opened its doors in December 2006 to treat girls 
between the ages of 14 and 17, before it had obtained a license from the 
California Department of Social Services -- a requirement for facilities 
that treat minors.

"This is very disturbing, as it involves adolescent girls," said Newport 
Beach resident Drew Weatherholt at the hearing.

The city received complaints about the Kramer Center from parents of some 
of its underage clients in early 2007, which were forwarded to the proper 
authorities, according to city documents.

The center was subsequently investigated by the Department of Social 
Services and the California Department of Alcohol and Drug Programs.

"There was just a misunderstanding as to what licenses were required," 
Berner said.

The Kramer Center later obtained a license from the Department of Social 
Services, but surrendered it in May 2007 in favor of treating adults.

The Kramer Center also never applied for a permit city officials told the 
center it needed to treat seven or more clients in the city, according to 
city documents.

The center's application to obtain a use permit to continue its operations 
in the city also still lacked several required documents Wednesday, 
rendering it incomplete, said Newport Beach Assistant City Manager Dave Kiff.

A ruling on whether the Kramer Center will be allowed to remain open in the 
city was put off on Wednesday until January, allowing the center to submit 
all of the necessary documents.

If the city decides not to issue the Kramer Center a use permit, it could 
be forced to close as early as February.
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