Residents pack Wheaton hearing to protest proposed drug treatment center
An overflow crowd poured into Wheaton city hall Tuesday for an emotional debate about a proposed drug and alcohol treatment center that has caused an uproar among residents who were still speaking out against the project during a public hearing late into the night.
Roughly 100 people packed the third planning and zoning board meeting on a request by a Chicago nonprofit group to convert a former medical office building into a treatment center that would provide both outpatient and residential programs for patients recovering from substance abuse disorders.
Family members who have lost loved ones to heroin overdoses made impassioned pleas in support of the Haymarket Center facility that they say will address a shortage of inpatient treatment for recovering addicts.
But residents tried to take the emotion out of the issue, saying they support the concept in general, but not at a site next to a day care center along East Loop Road.
Medical professionals told the board a facility with such an intensive level of care belongs on a hospital campus. An attorney for the owner of Rice Lake Square, a shopping center behind the property, also voiced opposition to Haymarket DuPage on behalf of his client.
Planning and zoning board members are expected to make a recommendation to the city council for or against Haymarket's request at a meeting Jan. 23. Haymarket operates a 400-bed residential complex in Chicago and wants to open a 16-bed inpatient program in Wheaton for patients 18 and older.
For full details about the public hearing, read Thursday's Daily Herald.