Forsyth County Commissioners appeared supportive of plans for the expansion of a local drug recovery center, but the process will take an additional six months for approval due to state rules.
During a recent meeting, Forsyth County Commissioners held two public hearings for the rezoning of 8.15 acres from restricted industrial district (M1) to commercial business district (CBD) and a conditional use permit for No Longer Bound, a recovery and regeneration program in Forsyth County for men overcoming addiction located at 2725 Pine Grove Road.
Due to state law, officials with No Longer Bound are required to wait six months before a second hearing, a policy that does not impact other zonings.
“It’s a very odd requirement of the zoning procedures in Georgia,” said Tom Brown, director of planning and community development. “You could put any use under the sun without this requirement, but this one use is called out as having this additional requirement.”
County Attorney Ken Jarrard said the law applies to “a halfway house, drug rehabilitation center or any other facility for the treatment of drug dependency.”
“I don’t know the origin of this, whether it made sense years and years and years ago,” Jarrard said. “I don’t know why, but my expectation was, when this was drafted, they were looking for time for citizens to mobilize. Citizens now mobilize over the weekend with online media, so I think it may have ran its course.”
Edward Bailey, executive director at No Longer Bound, said he had been in contact with state lawmakers and other state officials.
“They thought this was originally created for more like a methadone or medication treatments and that it was maybe supposed to slow some of that stuff from coming in town, maybe give more time for citizens to mobilize,” Bailey said. “We seem to be caught in the middle of that, which is a little bit frustrating, but we’re working on a solution.”
Bailey said plans for the facility included expanding into the additional eight acres that needed to be rezoned and the zoning would match surrounding businesses if No Longer Bound ever moved to a new site.
“We’re glad to have been saving lives and reconciling families in this community for 27 years,” Bailey said. “We look forward to growing with this community and continuing to be a part of it and being on the front lines of saving sons and brothers and fathers and husbands and reconciling back their families.”