It wasn’t elderly neighbors’ safety concerns or prejudice against people addicted to drugs and alcohol that killed plans for an inpatient detox center north of Bloomington Wednesday night.
Instead, the majority of the Monroe County Board of Zoning Appeals’ members relied on the advice of the plan department’s staff in voting 4-1 to deny a variance that would have allowed a 60- to 80-bed hospital-like facility in the old Hoosier Energy building about five miles north of the city.
Staff members who studied the proposal said it did not meet three of the five legal criteria required for a variance. They recommended denying the request at the Dec. 6 zoning appeals board meeting, but a 2-2 vote that night meant the building owners had to resubmit the proposal.
BZA member Michael McNeil supported the plan in December, and again Wednesday night. It was submitted on behalf of a Florida-based addictions treatment and drug-testing laboratory system. McNeil suggested approving the variance if the owners built a fence to separate it from a wooded area and also have security patrols around the property. No one seconded his motion.
CEO Kirill Vesselov established the Indiana Center for Recovery on West First Street in Bloomington last summer. The clinic provides residential treatment and outpatient programming for addicts who have undergone detox, some at the company’s 52-bed center in West Palm Beach, Florida.
The owners intended to offer those services in Monroe County at the Ellis Road site, but cannot proceed there without the hospital variance. Vesselov and his father purchased the 3.5 acres and the building, just east of Ind. 37, in November for $450,000. The Vesselovs also planned to operate a drug-testing laborator