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Page last updated on June 1, 2018 at 10:33 am

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Mary Catherine Carmichael
Director of Community Engagement


City Proposes Temporary Hold on New Rehab Facilities

Bloomington, Ind. - In light of the recent rapid proliferation in Bloomington of a range of businesses offering treatment services for individuals seeking recovery from substance use disorders, the Common Council of the City of Bloomington, together with the Bloomington Plan Commission and the Mayor, have drafted an ordinance that would put a temporary hold on further local development of this industry.  

The ordinance was drafted after multiple meetings with representatives from a variety of for-profit and non-profit addiction treatment centers in Bloomington.  Based on information gathered at those meetings and research into the potential consequences of a high concentration of for-profit treatment centers locating in a mid-size community, council and administration became increasingly concerned about what the unregulated growth of this industry here could mean for both individuals seeking substance use disorder treatment and the greater community.

If passed, Ordinance 18-14 -- “to impose a temporary moratorium on certain zoning uses under Title 20 (Unified Development Ordinance) of the Bloomington Municipal Code”  -- would prevent new rehabilitation centers from setting up shop in Bloomington for a period of up to one year. That time would be used to study best practices and develop policy.   

It is anticipated that the ordinance will be presented to the Plan Commission on June 11, and to Council June 13 and again on June 20, for a vote.  It would be effective once it is signed by Mayor John Hamilton (within three days of its passage by council).

Recognizing that the national opioid epidemic and the methamphetamine crisis have not spared Bloomington and that services for those suffering from substance use disorders are sorely needed, City officials were, above all, prompted by the concerns for the well-being of this vulnerable population in deciding to draft Ordinance 18-14.

“We want everyone dealing with substance use disorders to get the care they need to recover,” explained Hamilton. “This is one of those situations where a rapidly developing industry is outpacing regulation, and we don’t want anyone to fall into the breach.  So we will be working with state officials, experts in the field, and others who have already been through this process to learn how to promote the best opportunities for people to be positioned to lead fulfilling lives in recovery.

Facilities that are already open and in compliance with state and local legal requirements for businesses of this nature would not be affected by the proposed action.  Those currently in operation but not in compliance with applicable law would be given a grace period of 90 days from the adoption of the ordinance to comply for purposes of operation but not expansion

The temporary suspension of the establishment of new recovery facilities would allow City staff and Council members the opportunity to pause in order to study the best practices other communities have developed in integrating rehab providers into their zoning plans, to formulate appropriate policy, and to ensure protections for both individuals seeking treatment and the greater community.