The Wilmington City Council unanimously approved a special use permit for The Healing Place of New Hanover County. Last night’s meeting was the seventh time the decision on this abstinence-only facility has come before Council.
At the marathon City council meeting, supporters of the Healing Place wore buttons reading ‘support the need and location’ and held ‘break the stigma’ signs. Opponents voiced two main concerns: neighbors worry about security and safety – and, they say, the facility is not in harmony with the surroundings. There were also questions about the facility’s peer-based program model. The objections came from lawyers for Lower Cape Fear Hospice, Wilmington Health, Delaney Radiology, the Children’s Learning Center, and members of the public.
Cindy Ehlers is Executive Vice President of Clinical Operations for Trillium Health Resources, one of main backers of facility:
"We didn’t anticipate this kind of pushback from this community because the addiction issues here are so great. We would never have thought that there would be an opposition to anything that would help address addiction here."
Council ultimately approved the special use permit after inserting a provision for 24-hour professional security.
The 200-bed group home facility on 1000 Medical Center Drive will include a detox building, dining facility, and administrative offices.