Drug recovery housing at the center of Portsmouth zoning discussion

Recovery housing at the center of zoning discussion
Published: Mar. 1, 2022 at 6:59 PM EST
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PORTSMOUTH, Ohio (WSAZ) - City leaders are in the middle of rezoning the entire city of Portsmouth. Not only will the city be divided into newly formed districts, city codes will also be revised to best fit what the city has in mind for the future of those districts.

Citizens across the city, including Aaron Wagner, have been paying close attention to the rezoning discussions between city officials. Much of the discussion has been centered around drug recovery housing and how to appropriately account for those in the city code. Wagner is the vice president of operations of The Counseling Center, so drug recovery is very close to his heart.

“It certainly is a challenge for people to recover. It is even more so if you don’t provide the after care services,” Wagner said.

Portsmouth has seen an increase in drug recovery housing units since it last updated its zoning map in 1940. Those housing units have come with some problems in residential neighborhoods, and many are not providing adequate care for its residents.

“We would expect for a house with people in it to have running water, we would expect to have a washer and dryer so that they can clean their clothes,” said Portsmouth City Councilman Andy Cole.

But not all of these housing facilities are providing those necessities, and these conditions could potentially derail a person’s journey to recovery. Councilmembers would like to ensure that quality care is enforced and are exploring different options to make that happen.

“Let’s develop a licensing fee for all facilities that want to operate in Portsmouth,” said Councilman Sean Dunne.

He says the fee would pay for independent audits of these facilities.

“We currently have standards that they are requested to follow, but no one is enforcing that,” Dunne said.

Cole suggests reducing the number of unrelated people that can live in a single family home.

“It would reduce the burden on the neighborhood with the amount of people that would be moving in, parking problems and other issues,” Cole said.

Wagner says that when it comes to people who are suffering from addiction and need help, establishing a standard of care is key to their success.

“Make sure that all providers are meeting a certain level of quality care and offering a full spectrum of care. Then we’ve done our job,” Wagner said.

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