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Applicant reconsidering plan for Salem methadone clinic

Posted by Bella Travaglini  June 16, 2010 11:00 AM

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Operators of a proposed methadone clinic are rethinking opening a facility on Canal Street for recovering drug addicts, according to local officials.

Jack Keilty, attorney for Community Substance Abuse Centers based in Westfield, told City Councilor John Ronan during a phone conversation yesterday that his client is reassessing whether the location at the former Jeffery Brothers Furniture at 144 Canal St. is viable for such a clinic.

Ronan made the announcement last night before an estimated 250 residents during a meeting organized by the South Salem Neighborhood Association at Salem State College’s Enterprise Center.

Meanwhile, the city’s legal department on Monday issued an opinion saying that the application for the clinic was incomplete and the property will be subjected to a proposed zoning amendment that would restrict medical clinics in an industrial zone, said Jason Silva, chief administrative aide to the mayor.

Last month, after learning the methadone clinic had plans to open on Canal Street on the second floor of the vacant furniture warehouse, the City Council voted unanimously to consider amending a zoning article, which would require a special permit to allow medical clinics to operate in an industrial zone.

Now that the applicant must seek a special permit from the Zoning Board of Appeals to open the facility, the process may dissuade the clinic operator from opening at that location, said Ronan.

Officials and residents have expressed outrage over the location for the proposed clinic, citing the lack of nearby public transportation and the close proximity to schools, Salem State College and a residential neighborhood.

The owner of the property, Anthony Gattineri of Snakebite Realty of Danvers, tonight is coming before the zoning board of appeals seeking a variance to increase the number of parking spaces an adjacent Canal Street property he also owns. That meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. at 120 Washington St., 3rd floor.

A joint public hearing between the city council and planning board to consider the proposed zoning amendment is scheduled for 7 p.m. on Monday, June 28 at Salem City Hall. The city council has 90 days from that day to vote on the amendment.

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