Tuesday, March 28, 2023

Supervisors Say ‘No’ to Stonewater’s Request to Expand

By Alyssa Schnugg

News editor


The Lafayette County Board of Supervisors put the brakes on Stonewater Adolescent Recovery Center’s plans to double the number of patients they could serve after voting against a conditional use permit Monday.

Last month, the Board tabled the request to allow the supervisors more time to read over the 2,000-pages of information in the request for the permit.

The center is seeking a conditional use permit to expand its campus on County Road 362. They wanted to build a new dormitory that would house 16 additional patients, a cafeteria and a recreational facility. The center currently can house 16 juveniles.

The Lafayette County Planning Commission approved the request in March after visiting the facility and included several conditions for approval that included implementing a text message system to alert police and neighbors if a child left the facility; participating in drug and alcohol educational programs at area schools; develop a recovery team to deal with patients who leave the facility; and construct an 8-foot high fence around the property that would be gated.

Stonewater said they would also hire a 24-hour security guard.

Attorney Chris Latimer, representing Stonewater, told the Board that the center has passed every inspection that has been made by several state departments and asked the Board to follow the recommendation of its Planning Commission.

Stonewater is located on 62 acres and treats adolescents 12 to 17 years old who are struggling with substance abuse and addiction.

The Supervisors have cited concerns about the frequency of juveniles who have run away from the center as their hesitation to allow expansion. While that number has been reduced over the last couple of years, supervisors said they felt it hasn’t been reduced enough.

The Board voted to deny the request for the conditional use permit unanimously.