Painesville Township votes down rehab clinic in favor of marijuana dispensary

PAINESVILLE TOWNSHIP, OH (WOIO) - Painesville Township Trustees, in a 3-0 vote on Tuesday, turned down the proposal of Signature Health to open an opioid addiction facility.

Instead, the board favored a plan that would pave the way for a marijuana dispensary shop on the site.

Signature Health, a local company with facilities throughout Northeast Ohio, specializes in mental health and addiction issues and tried to ease concerns about security. But multiple residents spoke out against the facility during a public forum at the Township Center, all claiming that the facility would be too close to residential areas in the township.

Janelle Unger and a handful of others spoke in favor of the issue before the vote and made a compelling case about addicts who finally look for help, but are turned away because there are not enough facilities for the number of addicts who need the help.

"I have a child who is struggling with addiction right now, and can't find a place for rehab," she said.

Opponents of the rehab facility were for the most part sympathetic to those looking to turn their lives around but did not think a light industrial area, surrounded by neighborhoods, was the best place for the rehab clinic.

"Everybody wants people to rehab, everybody wants people to become productive citizens, but it's a Catch 22 because you don't want it in your neighborhood," local resident Paul Battaglia said.

Tom Christopher, who owns the property, said he could make more money by leasing his property to the operators of the marijuana dispensary; however, he spoke out in favor of the rehab clinic as addiction issues had touched his family.

The trustees felt it was the responsible thing to do to listen to the residents of the area who were worried about safety and property values.

Copyright 2018 WOIO. All rights reserved.