Scranton Residents Pack Hearing over Controversial Proposal to Open Substance Treatment Center

SCRANTON, Pa. -- Concerned residents packed into Scranton City Hall Wednesday night for a zoning board hearing on a controversial proposal.

A property owner wants to open a substance abuse treatment facility in the city. If approved, that facility would go in the old Geisinger physicians' office on Route 307 near Lake Scranton.

Residents who came to voice their opposition will have to wait as the hearing was continued to next month, but that was what they actually wanted.

The zoning board hearing got heated as attorneys on opposite sides argued over the controversial proposed facility.

Bill Rinaldi, a land developer, wants the zoning board to allow his company to open a live-in substance abuse treatment center on Route 307 near Lake Scranton in the city.

That proposal is not sitting well with the people who live there, and they packed the meeting.

"We're not insensitive to the issue. We recognize a need, but it's concerning that it's in our neighborhood, a very residential neighborhood," said Susan Sariti of East Mountain.

However, Rinaldi said the facility will not be a methadone clinic and would be safe.

"This is going to be a 24-hour, secure facility. No medications would be prescribed at this facility," Rinaldi explained.

The lawyer representing the residents argued they were caught off guard saying they only just learned about the proposed facility.

The zoning board agreed to move the hearing to next month to give them time to prepare a defense.

"We just learned of this in the last few days, so we felt like it was a sneak attack," Sariti added.

"Mr. Rinaldi had a good offense, and this will give us a little bit more time because a majority of us do feel we were blindsided," said Jesse Rozelle, Oakmont Neighborhood Association.

The hearing on this proposed facility was continued to May 8.

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