Treatment and pretreatment residential facility approved after lengthy council discussion

Posted 3/16/22

By John McLoone After a lengthy and at times emotional discussion, the Hastings City Council gave unanimous approval to a plan for Providence House a state-licensed facility that will help those …

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Treatment and pretreatment residential facility approved after lengthy council discussion


By John McLoone

After a lengthy and at times emotional discussion, the Hastings City Council gave unanimous approval to a plan for Providence House a state-licensed facility that will help those entering and exiting substance abuse programs.

The facility will be operated by Rise Up Recovery at Hastings in a home at 303 5th St. East being purchased from Dennis Sullivan and Martha Sullivan.

Rise Up also operates a counseling facility at 507 Vermillion St., and this home would be operated in conjunction with that.

With one council member absent, the vote needed to be unanimous to allow the special use permit for the home. After an hour of discussion and minor modifications, approval was granted. A total of 10 residents and staff will be located in the facility.

The item was forwarded to the city council by a 6-1 vote of the planning commission.

Conditions were put on the project, and number 15 was changed at the request of Councilmember Mark Vaughan who felt it was too “subjective.”

Here’s the initial list of conditions that were presented to the council: 1. Maintaining a State License for Board and Lodging with Special Services.

2. Maintaining a Rental Housing License from the City of Hastings.

3. Facility must be supervised by a Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselor.

4. Facility must provide staffing seven days a week, 24 hours a day by certified recoverysupport individuals such as Certified Peer Recovery Support Specialists.

5. No more than 10 residents may be housed. Housing shall be limited to medically stabilized pre-treatment (short term emergency) individuals and those enrolled in a qualified post-treatment program.

6. Residents must participate in peer recovery support services.

7. Facility shall maintain rules for conduct and expectations for residents served including the immediate dismissal of residents possessing illicit drugs, alcohol, and mood altering chemicals.

8. Pre-treatment residents shall reside and remain at the Providence House until a treatment placement is made unless accompanied by a member of the post-treatment program to attend recovery meetings only.

9. Residents shall be respectful of neighbors and shall refrain from going indoors or on the front steps of any residence outside of the Providence House property.

10. Outdoor smoking shall be limited to a designated area out of the public view that limits impact to surrounding residences.

11. Residents shall not gather in outdoor areas unless accompanied by staff.

12. Resident intake shall be by appointment only with no walk-up intake services.

13. Transportation arrangements must be made for residents discharged from the treatment program.

14. The number of vehicles for residents of the facility is limited to six.

15. Operation must maintain the peace, tranquility, and livability of the surrounding neighborhood.

16. Approval is subject to a one-year Sunset Clause; operation must occur within one year of City Council approval or approval is null and void.

Several councilmembers credited Rise Up for bringing the facility to Hastings, recounting family members and neighbors suffering from addiction.

Community Development Director John Hinzman walked the council through the agenda item.

“The recommendation that we have from Planning Commission and from staff is for a 10-bed facility,” he said. “It would be comprised of treatment for two types of individuals, one would be short term from those emerging from a treatment facility and it would be a pretreatment facility. These are individuals that are awaiting enrollment into a program. These are people who would choose that they would like to enter into an alcohol or substance abuse program but are not currently enrolled in a program. This is short-term in nature until they can find a place and enter into a program.”

The facility would be staffed with a licensed alcohol and drug abuse counselor and peer recovery specialist on a 24/7 basis.

“They’ve developed a very thoughtful and detailed plan of operation,” said Hinzman.

Vaughan questioned how long a resident could be in pretreatment.

Rise Up Executive Director Tiffany Neuharth said all residents are screened in a number of ways and assessed prior to admission to the program.

“Generally, the stay is at most 10 days while they’re waiting to get into a treatment program. Typically, anywhere from three to five days is pretty standard.”

She said pretreatment is desperately needed, and this is a unique program where those in the house who are through recovery will help those in pretreatment.

Said Vaughn, “I give our Planning Commission credit on this. They did some great work, and one thing is still sticking out with me,” he said, pointing out the conditions nine and 15 he believed to be subjective, meaning too open to interpretation.

“We could have a neighbor say anything, and this will be back again. We’re going to be right back in here after investments are made,” said Vaughan. “I just want to make sure anything we do is successful for the business, the community and the neighbors.”

Vaughan said the facility by its nature will likely have police calls to it. He noted that similar facilities in Rochester and Mankato had 16 and 34 police calls, respectively, in 2021.

“I need to hear my colleagues on this, because I can tell you today the things that are subjective are hanging me up a little bit, and I need to get through that,” he said.

Councilmember Lisa Leifeld issued a plea for passage of the facility.

“I’m at the point I’m going to give my support because I think we have to step up and make a decision. If we’ve got somebody who’s committed and has the money behind them to make this facility a reality, then we need to be saying we support you,” she said.

Said Councilmember Lori Braucks, “I was very pleased to see a number of letters in our packet, people who are supporting it, because that tells me that it’s necessary and that we need it.”

“I agree with Councilmember Leifeld,” said Councilmember Tina Folch. “We keep hearing the old NIMBY, ‘Not in my backyard.’ The fact is we need to lift up members of our community who need this.”

Vaughan acknowledged the need but wanted the conditions looked at.

“It has to be clear for staff. That’s not clear for staff,” he said. City Attorney Korine Land said those two conditions “jumped out at me too.”

“Just eliminate those two items. It wouldn’t break my heart,” said Land.

The conditions in question were replaced with the statement that the home couldn’t be a public nuisance.

That got the matter on the floor for a vote, at which time Leifeld floated an amendment that 15 beds be allowed – the initial Rise Up plan – instead of 10. Hinzman explained, however, that city staff had asked that the request be 10 beds, because of staff parking needs at the home.

Vaughan said that perhaps it could have more residents in the future.

“Prove it to the neighbors. Let this building thrive in Hastings. If they want to grow, come back to us,” he said.

Rise Up staff said they were comfortable starting at 10 residents.

The council then voted to approve.

Photo by Bruce Karnick.