Zoning Hearing Set For Halfway House

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KINGSTON -- Zoning officials in Kingston could decide Wednesday night if they will allow an old office building to be turned into a drug and alcohol rehabilitation center.

Some people who live nearby said they're worried about such a facility moving into their neighborhood.

The Clem-Mar House wants to move its non-profit halfway house for women from the back mountain to Kingston.

Some people said they're glad that there could be new life in the old Apollo building. Others said they don't want a drug and alcohol rehab facility in their neighborhood.

The old Apollo building on West Dorrance Street in Kingston has been empty for more than a year. The four-story office building - near homes, businesses, and a playground - could be renovated into a halfway house for women going through drug and alcohol rehab.

Last month, 24 residents at Clem-mar were forced out when a pipe burst and a ceiling collapsed at the adjacent Back Mountain Care Center near Dallas. Rehab patients were able to return a week later, but Clem-Mar has been looking for a new location ever since.

“These people have to be treated, they need help. Where do you put them, in the middle of the woods?"

Bill Dixon of Mountain top said he comes to Kingston often and doesn't feel a rehab center would bring problems.

"The people that don’t care or don’t want to better themselves won’t be in a place. They don’t want to be a part in anything like this,” said Dixon.

Other people who do business on Wyoming Avenue tell us that they are worried about the possibility of the old Apollo building being turned into two dozen efficiency apartments for drug and alcohol rehabilitation patients.

“We don’t know what kind of transient residents there will be. We would like to keep the community as commercial zoned,” said Carmen Bolin of Wyoming.

Clem-Mar House is seeking special permission from Kingston's zoning hearing board to allow patients to live in a commercially-zoned building. An attorney for Clem-Mar House said their rehabilitation centers are highly regulated and have strict curfews.

A hearing is set for 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Kingston municipal building.  It's not certain that Kingston zoning officials will make a decision at that meeting.