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Moratorium on Parkersburg treatment centers, group homes gets first reading

Published: Jul. 13, 2021 at 9:03 PM EDT|Updated: Jul. 13, 2021 at 9:36 PM EDT
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PARKERSBURG, W.Va. (WTAP) - Parkersburg City Council has given the first of two required readings to an ordinance intended to place a moratorium on the opening of new drug treatment centers and group homes in the city.

As expected, a crowd estimated at 100 people-the most in several years-attended the meeting Tuesday night. 20 of them spoke, some passionately, about the need for treatment and recovery centers. Some were themselves in recovery from drug and opioid abuse.

Councilwoman Sharon Kuhl, who voted for the ordinance, said the moratorium, which still requires a second reading, does not stop new centers indefinitely, or close down existing ones. She says it simply allows time to develop a plan toward establishing future treatment centers. Mayor Tom Joyce agreed.

Two motions from Councilwoman Wendy Tuck, one tabling the measure, the other referring it to the Committee of the Whole, died for lack of a second.

The moratorium would be in effect until June 30, 2022. It says the city has about 19 percent of licensed substance abuse treatment beds in West Virginia but Parkersburg accounts for less than 2% of the state’s population. Mayor Tom Joyce said legislation passed in 2017 that exempted treatment facilities from a process that determines if they are needed should be removed.

On another measure, second reading of an ordinance that would allow people to set off fireworks during certain hours on July 4th and 5th did not pass-it died for lack of a motion and a second. The first reading passed last month on a 5-3 vote.

It would have allowed people to set off fireworks between 8 p.m.-12 a.m on the fourth of July.

Fireworks are currently illegal in Parkersburg.

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