After sitting before a standing-room only commission chambers Tuesday night and hearing several residents from the Chanteclair and Hunters Run communities speak against a proposed inpatient treatment facility, the majority of the Boynton Beach commissioners voted against the project from opening on Congress Avenue.
It was an unexpected move, as the project is technically allowed to open on the site because of an ordinance the commissioners passed earlier this year that expanded the districts that these treatment facilities are allowed in.
However, Mayor Jerry Taylor said the Novus Medical Center project presents a “very negative effect” on the surrounding communities.
“It’s a place that is not conducive to that type of area,” he said.
Commissioner Mike Fitzpatrick was the sole vote in favor of the facility.
Residents spoke of a fear of crime, traffic, not enough security and the patients wandering into the nearby communities.
The center would have been built in a one-story 19,000-square-foot building. The company has another location on the west coast of the state and has been in business for about 10 years, according to attorney Michael Weiner, who spoke on behalf of Novus.
Weiner said the project would have created 75 jobs and Novus would have put in about $7 million to construct the building. The center would have met all the code and safety requirements, he said.
Still, residents were concerned.
“You are putting a detox center in a very vulnerable area: Senior citizens. Children. A school,” said Chanteclair resident Lola Cariello.
Chanteclair resident Joyce Mura said approving the project would be “another black eye for the city.”
The detox and recovery assisted-living facility would have been for patients who are voluntarily admitted and would stay for about six days. The site plan shows a lounge/activity room, a fitness area, a recreation center, a dining room, offices for doctors, 19 double bedrooms and two single bedrooms.
During the discussion, Taylor proposed taking another look at the ordinance the commission passed in March. Through that ordinance, 24-hour treatment facilities are now allowed in four of the six commercial zoning districts, including where Novus was proposed to go.
Before that, the facilities were allowed only one zoning use, a hospital.