Corsicana Daily Sun, Corsicana, Texas

October 2, 2012

MHMR fails before council

Drug counseling center doesn’t get motion

By Janet Jacobs
Corsicana Daily Sun

Corsicana — Facing more than 100 signatures on a home-made petition from local business owners and employees, the Lakes MHMR request for a special use permit to put in a counseling center in the former Navarro Mall failed to get a motion from the Corsicana City Council Tuesday night.

The concern was that there would be addicts in the neighborhood who might be dangerous, according to Trena Weidmann, owner of P&S Pharmacy.

The agency has already spent more than $70,000 of a grant fixing up the space in the mall and didn’t realize it would need an SUP to operate, according to representatives of the group. They’ve signed a three-year lease on the space.

All the people who spoke, including opponents of the center, agreed a counseling center is needed, but they didn’t want it in their area of the city.

Janie Biltz, who is a member of the board, said the center has been high on the list of priorities from local law enforcement and other groups for years.

“This is not an emergency room facility, not a walk-in facility, not a detox center,” she told the council. “It would be for group therapy and individual counseling.”

The center would be restricted to just offering counseling, and no dispensing of drugs would take place. As well, the agency wouldn’t be working on a contract with the jail or probation departments, but would only be providing services to people referred to the center by the hospital or who referred themselves for narcotics addictions.

Because there was no motion, the agency can still return to the council to try again.

In other business, the council took the following actions:

• Approved an SUP for the Remington to have a private club, although Council woman Ruby Williams voted against the measure.

• Tabled a request to change the sign ordinance to allow the replacement of a wooden billboard on Seventh Avenue with a metal one. The change would have allowed the replacement of six other wooden billboards with metal ones, as well. In 2004, the city voted to not allow any more billboards, but those that were already in the city were allowed to stay so long as they were maintained.

• Approved the purchase of an 8-foot strip of property along Dobbins near the intersection of Bowie for the future construction of a sidewalk between Collins Middle School and Northside Baptist Church.

• Authorized the submission of an application to the state for a water line replacement. The project along Collin Street from the railroad line to Parham would be for $330,000. If the city gets the grant, it would replace the 60-year-old two-inch line with a six-inch line.

• Agreed to support the lobbying of the legislature by the Atmos Texas Municipalities, a group of cities that have fought against Atmos gas rate hikes in the past.

During the work session prior to the council meeting, the council was asked to consider changes to the sign ordinance to account for banners, feather signs, and other floppy signs. No action was taken on the issue.



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Janet Jacobs may be reached via e-mail at jjacobs@corsicanadailysun.com. Want to “sound off” to this article? E-mail: Soundoff@corsicanadailysun.com