Public hearing held for proposed drug and alcohol rehab center in Martinsburg

Planning commission approved zoning change 4-3

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - Dozens gathered Wednesday night for a public hearing after the county requested the property of a proposed drug and alcohol rehab facility to be zoned as a community business instead of an industrial one.

A petition was handed over with 267 signatures opposed to the facility located at 750 Baltimore Street. 

"The petition states that we don't feel the location is right for this," said one resident.

Those against say the facility is located in an area where there are over 350 residential dwellings, along with several other parks.

"We need to look out for the welfare of our youth at Oatesdale Park, War Memorial Park, residential children, a church and a daycare center to name a few within 2,000 feet of 750 Baltimore Street. And a school about a half mile away," said another resident opposed to the idea.

Others argued that the facility is located within a floodplain that would cause damage to the building. Some also said it would take away from surrounding local businesses.

"I think that it's going to devalue my business," said Kathy Shifflett, office services manager at The Hub. "I think it's going to take away from some of the other businesses there."

Councilman Dan Dulyea argued that the owners of the building said they have never seen water creep inside the building. He said it was a "small problem" and people would still be able to get in and out of the facility safely.

Others in favor of the facility shared their stories of how the heroin epidemic has impacted their lives.

"I lost my daughter December 7th, 2014 to a heroin overdose," one resident said. "I tried to find her help, there was no help."

Others say the epidemic has gotten so out of control that something needs to be done regardless of where the facility is located.

"We have a serious epidemic here, and someone has got to start somewhere," a concerned resident said. "So if it's Baltimore Street, let's start it! We have to help them somewhere."

The planning commission voted four to three in approval of the zoning change from an industrial to a community business, according to Dulyea. It will then go to city council for a vote.

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