Community weighs in on proposed drug and alcohol rehab facility in Morro Bay

A combination of drugs and alcohol rehabFacility could soon be available in a Morro Bay neighborhood.

The supportive housing project at 2460 Main St. would have 27 rooms and be available to people who are struggling with addiction on a free basis.

The facility will be open 24 hours per day.

Rodeway Inn sits at the same location. The owner states that his motel business suffered from the pandemic. He plans to make it a detox center to help the community.

However, many residents of this area are not supportive of the change and stated that they were unaware of the project which is due to be approved next week.

Ashley Smith lives 700 feet from the motel. She was notified via mail last Thursday.

She is concerned about the proximity to Morro Bay High School, and Del Mar Elementary.

“Kids are walking by that facility a few times a day to get to get to school and during lunch and after too,”Smith said.

The project was proposed in December to the city planning commission, but Smith says she wasn’t made aware of it until weeks later.

“I feel like the transparency about this project wasn’t there from the start in terms of letting the rest of the city know,” Smith said.

Brian Der Vartanian, the owner of Rodeway Inn Motel, said the detox facility is far enough away from downtown, easily accessible to those in need, and will be professionally staffed.

“There will be licensed individuals and it will be tightly monitored, same as a hospital or treatment center,” Der Vartanian said.

Der Vartanian’s company, soon to be called Morro Bay Recovery, is currently based in Los Angeles.

He hopes people look past the stigma of these facilities.

“We are going to treat people. We are not going to give them drugs,” he said. “We are going to make them part of society back where they belong.”

Maya Restaurant employees are concerned about safety as well as business impacts.

“I have nothing against people trying to rehabilitate, but this is not the location for it,” server Mary Smith said.

Leaders in the city claim that their hands are tied.

“We are in a position where by-right, we have to approve this administrative item which means no public hearing, no city council, no planning commission hearing by state law,”Scott Collins, Morro bay City Manager, stated. “There’s not a lot we can do about it at this point. We just want to make sure moving forward that it’s done well.”

As the approval deadline nears, the city encourages the owner to reach out and engage with the community.

The deadline for public comments to be submitted to the planning commission on Saturday, February 20, is 20. The decision of the planning commission will be made on Tuesday.

If the project is approved by the city, appeals can be filed.

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