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Vienna Council to discuss rehab moratorium

VIENNA — Vienna City Council is set to discuss the creation of a moratorium on new substance abuse rehabilitation group residential facilities during its next regular meeting on Thursday.

The moratorium, if passed through two readings, will go into effect through June 30, 2022. Thursday’s meeting at 6 p.m. will mark the first official reading.

According to West Virginia Code 27-17-1, group residential facilities and group residential homes are for individuals with “behavioral disabilities,” which includes those going through substance abuse treatment and rehabilitation. The number of persons in one housing facility is not to exceed 12.

According to recent state statistics, 26 percent of all recovery beds are located within Wood County.

Vienna contains less than one percent of the population of West Virginia. Currently, the existing facilities available outweigh the amount of residents in the area who have a need for substance abuse treatment. Many of the people who have a need for these facilities are from outside of Vienna and Wood County, officials said.

A substantial percent of these residents come from other areas and become homeless, because they either get evicted from the program or choose to quit the program. This helps to increase the homeless problem in the Vienna and Wood county areas, officials said.

The increase in the homeless population has caused health and safety issues to the citizens of Vienna, officials said. Over the past year, there has been a 46 percent increase in shoplifting, a 22 percent increase in overdose calls and a 16 percent increase in drug related calls. The city believes that there is a connection between the substance abuse treatment facilities and the homeless increase in the area, officials said.

Other items for Thursday’s agenda include:

∫ A resolution to reappoint J. Ryan Full to the Vienna Public Library Board of Trustees.

∫ An update on the Johns Manville production site.

∫ A discussion to have a public meeting for developing Spencer’s Landing.

∫ American Rescue Plan Fund council plans.

Jenna Pierson contributed to this article and may be reached at jpierson@newsandsentinel.com

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