The city of Everett was on the verge of announcing a second location for a methadone treatment center in the northeast part of the city. However, hours before a public meeting Tuesday night, those plans were taken off the table.
“Ahead of tonight’s scheduled hearing on opiate substitution treatment facilities, City staff have been looking into questions raised by the public and planning commissioners, including reviewing legal developments since the original opioid treatment facility zoning ordinance was passed in 2003,” City spokesperson Meghan Pembroke wrote in a statement.
The change in plans made some downtown business owners nervous a second site could pop up in their neighborhood.
“I feel like the impact on the opiate epidemic is nothing compared to the impact it will have on these people creating businesses here,” Michelle Conley said.
Conley owns Mishu, a clothing store on Rucker Avenue. During the spring, the City was looking at a former surgical office a block from her business for a second site.
“Having a clinic down the street from my business terrifies me because it's taken so long to build this community and take away the reputation of Everett,” Conley said.
Currently, the only opiate substitution facility, commonly known as a methadone clinic, within Everett City limits is in a business park about five miles south of downtown.
Supporters say with the growing opioid epidemic, a second site is necessary.
Conley just hopes it stays out of the downtown area.
“I am all for taking care of the opiate problem, but I believe the impact on the community that we are trying to grow and that we are building in downtown Everett will be vastly detrimental,” Conley said.
Pembroke says city staff will take public comments made during Tuesday’s planning commission meeting into consideration and come back with a new location on December 5.