Friday, September 6, 2019

Opioid clinic prompts delayed citizen protests

Residents opposed to the planned opioid treatment facility in Westland may have missed the appointed time in which to voice their complaints.
The new facility, to be located at 34290 Ford Road, the site of the former Montana's Steak House, was approved by members of the city council by a 5-2 vote Aug. 5. Several residents used the public comments portion of the Aug. 19 meeting of the Westland City Council agenda to voice concerns and objections to the facility.

Residents voiced complaints about the proximity of the new addiction treatment center to both an elementary and middle school and the Wildwood apartments. One resident claimed to represent “a lot of people in my neighborhood” who, he said, “are very concerned about the potential risk to the children in the grade school.”
A Stacy Street resident said that she cannot allow her three young daughters to play alone outside because of the current foot traffic on her street. She claimed that drug deals were being made in front of her home in broad daylight.
Some speakers said they were concerned that they had not been informed of the proposed opioid clinic prior to approval by council members.
City Director of Planning Mohamed Ayoub said that because the proposal was a “special land use” request, minimal notification to nearby property owners was required. He said state regulations required notice to people living within 300 feet of the property in question and that a notice of the proposal was published. He added that the discussion of the issue at the planning commission July 16 was the subject of news coverage, too.
Several speakers said this decision would be a factor in their next voting decisions for council members prompting Council President Pro tem Peter Herzberg to remind the audience that he had cast a no vote on the issue and that he pleaded with other council members to vote against the project.
Mayor William R. Wild suggested a community forum on the issue with the developers and the public noting that the characterization of the facility and the description of the operation were not as portrayed at the meeting.
“It's a little different than has been described here tonight,” he said.
Council President James Godbout said he was unaware of any public opposition to the clinic prior to the July or August meetings.
“Had there been this type of reaction prior to the decision being made, it may have been a different decision,” he said.
Westland is the second-largest city in Wayne County in terms of opioid incidents, behind Detroit, according to website information.