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Last week, the City Council acting in its capacity as a Board of Adjustments approved two findings of facts and conclusions of law from the May 14 appeal hearings regarding a conditional use permit (CUP) for the property at 402 Second Avenue. On April 6, the Planning & Zoning Commission granted SeaView Community Services the initial permit to operate the property as a recovery housing facility and substance abuse treatment center, but nearby resident Carol Griswold sought to appeal the permit, citing the potential threats of “increased crime, litter including drug paraphernalia, noise, pedestrian traffic, and vehicle traffic associated with the proposed facility,” according to appeal documents.

Monday’s decision to affirm the permit also struck one of its original conditions requiring SeaView to return to the Planning & Zoning Commission for a one-year review and submit quarterly reports to the Commission that address the facility’s activities. The condition was struck on the grounds that it violated the Fair Housing Act, and the amended CUP was approved unanimously.

Carol Griswold spoke to the Council’s decision via telephone after the decision. 

“The Board of Adjustments’ erroneous finding that recovery housing with residential substance abuse treatment is the same use as multi-family dwelling opens the door to permitting recovery housing in any dwelling: apartments, condominiums, mobile homes, modular homes, single family duplex and multiple family,” she said. “Was that the intent? We have no definitions or land use plans for behavioral health treatment uses.”

After the decision, SeaView attorney Siena Caruso thanked the Council via telephone for their time and diligence. SeaView Executive Director Christine Sheehan then took the podium to echo the sentiment.

“I just wanted to take this opportunity to thank the Board of Adjustments / Council and the city employees that have worked with us through this entire period with our housing that we offer for people with serious mental illness and those in recovery,” Sheehan said. “Thank you very much for your consideration in removing that discriminatory addition on our recent CUP.”

Though the adoption of the findings included an order to issue the CUP, the action may yet be further appealed to Superior Court. SeaView is currently in the process of purchasing the property.