Portsmouth City Council must decide if it wants to extend the ban on new medical facilities in the city for another six months.
Last November 25, the council adopted a facility banning “new healthcare, medical, rehabilitation, counseling or mental health facilities within the City of Portsmouth, Ohio” for one year. The plan was for the city to update its zoning rules to make sure facilities were properly regulated and maintained.
The measure was directed primarily at the growing number of drug and alcohol rehabilitation facilities in the city, but the ban covers all types of medical facilities.
Could Prohibit New Facilities Permanently
Now, the council will consider a measure to extend the ban until May 23, 2022. “Whereas, City staff will require additional time to review and make recommendations on zoning, prohibition and/or limitations of new healthcare, medical, rehabilitation, counseling or mental health facilities so that any necessary regulations conform to goals of the City of Portsmouth and help ensure the public peace, health, safety, and welfare of its citizens.”
According to a memo from City Manager Sam Sutherland, the zoning plan is not finished. Judging from the language of the ordinance extending the ban, Portsmouth may not allow new medical facilities even after the ban expires, “The purpose of this moratorium is so that City staff may determine whether to limit or entirely prohibit healthcare, medical, rehabilitation, counseling or mental health facilities in the City of Portsmouth and to prepare any necessary, related zoning or other regulations.”
Leads State in Overdoses
Council has expressed concerns about the growing number of drug and alcohol rehabilitation facilities in the community. While some say the large number of treatment centers is not good for the city’s image, experts argue that the area’s well-documented drug problems justify the number of facilities.
In 2020, Scioto County led the state in drug overdoses.
The ban does not exclusively apply to drug and alcohol treatment facilities. New healthcare, medical counseling, and mental health facilities are also not permitted.
Recovery Housing Ordinance
Council is currently reviewing a detailed “recovery housing” ordinance which is currently 19 pages long with 17 sections covering all aspects of residential treatment facilities including:
- Services offered and levels of support.
- Recovery residence standards.
- Termination of residency.
- Residents’ rights.
- Training and technical assistance.
- Access to medication.
- Access to finding and referrals.
- Data collection.
- Denial, suspension, or revocation of certification.
- Crimes and penalties.
Council will consider extending the ban on new facilities during their next meeting on Monday, November 8.