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Fight over zoning for rehab center

MAINEVILLE, Ohio (Angenette Levy) -- A plan to open a drug and alcohol treatment center hit a roadblock Monday night.

Maineville's Zoning board of appeals denied a request from the center's proprietor to allow it under the zoning code.

Don Whitman planned to open Breakthrough Drug & Alcohol Treatment Center in two buildings on Foster-Maineville Rd. Whitman has a contract to buy the buildings.  It would sit next door Hill's Martial Arts where children learn taekwondo.

"The drug treatment center being right there, we're worried about the instability of the people that will be going there," said owner Scott Hill.

The Village planning commission sent a letter to Whitman in January stating his plans complied with the zoning code. But in March, when he applied for a zoning permit his request was denied. A zoning expert testified for the village that only a portion of the center's operation would comply with the zoning code.

The rehab center would have 48 beds for men and women. They would be supervised 24/7. Whitman said he wants to open the center because he feels there is a need for it.

"When the applicant came and originally met with village officials they literally put in writing to him that his proposed use was consistent with the zoning code," said Whitman's attorney, Tim Burke. "And it was only after controversy developed out here and fear was put it to people when it didn't need to be that this became a controversial issue and they found a way to change their minds."

Concerned residents said they didn't want a rehab center in their community.

"Of course I have a concern because I have families that I rent to that I think it will be impossible to rent to families if this goes in," said Janet Moore, who owns two rental properties next to the proposed site.

Burke plans to file an appeal with the Warren Co.Court of Common Pleas.

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