Drug treatment facility facing opposition from Wilkes-Barre Zoning Hearing Board

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WILKES-BARRE, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — A drug treatment facility is looking to move into Wilkes-Barre.

But they’re already getting pushback from the zoning board. It’s the same company that owns Miners Medical in Ashley. Controversy surrounding the center has died down since they opened in 2010. But a public zoning hearing on the books for next week could put the issue back in the spotlight.

A zoning appeal application from Pinnacle Treatment Centers is on the Wilkes-Barre Zoning Hearing Board agenda for Wednesday, October 21st. The same company stirred up controversy when they quietly opened a methadone clinic in Ashley 10 years ago. Tensions came to a head at this council meeting in 2010.

But things have since simmered down. Eyewitness News asked people who live in the neighboring homes how they feel about the clinic next door. Most were indifferent.

“I don’t have a problem with these people over here, they don’t bother me,” Anthony Korsakas of Ashley said. “A lot of people are like ‘oh I don’t want that in my neighborhood,’ well it’s got to go somewhere.”

The treatment center serves people in need of recovery from physical and mental disorders caused by substance dependency. According to the Wilkes-Barre Zoning Hearing Board, Pinnacle Treatment Centers wants to relocate to a much larger facility just two miles down the road.

A zoning officer told Eyewitness News the permit was denied. Now the zoning board will hear Pinnacle’s appeal. The company filed a zoning appeal application for the property at 140 Hazle Street where they would provide medicated assisted treatments including methadone.

Certified staff would also provide drug and alcohol counseling. A major concern in 2010 was whether clients brought crime into the neighborhood. But now, not everyone shares those beliefs.

“They were in trouble before they got to the clinic, now that they’re at the clinic, they’re productive members of society. They have jobs, they don’t commit crimes, they’re not running around on the street copping smack, they don’t need to,” Leo Edwards of Wilkes-Barre said.

“People don’t want it in their neighborhood because of the crime, but actually it decreases the crime because people aren’t out on the street looking for money to get a fix you know,” Korsakas said.

At the hearing next Wednesday the board will decide if it should uphold or overrule the city’s determination. The public hearing will be held in City Council chambers on Wednesday, October 21st at 4:30 p.m.

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