Methadone clinic pursues ways to resolve parking issues
Code enforcement decision pending
The operators of the BD Health Ser
vices methadone clinic on North Point Road indicated Monday they are looking into opening another clinic in Baltimore City they say could help alleviate the traffic congestion at the Dundalk clinic that has sparked complaints from neighbors.
One of the owners, Jason Gelber, testified during a code enforcement hearing on Monday in Towson that an informal survey of the Dundalk clinic’s clients indicated about half might be able to
transfer to the city location if it comes to pass.
“They’ve been looking for properties properly zoned for parking,” said Richard Matz, a principal and engineer with Colbert, Matz and Rosenfelt, who has worked on the addition plans.
Matz and Gelber testified during the second day of the hearing before the county’s Chief Administrative Law Judge, Lawrence Stahl.
Stahl will review the case and issue a written decision that can be appealed by either party to the county Board of Appeals.
The county Department of Permits, Approvals and Inspections recently cited the clinic owners for operating two on-site office trailers with expired permits and for failure to maintain a “durable and dustless” surface for parking.
Members of the Wells McComas Improvement Association testified on the first day of the hearing on Feb. 1 that the number of clients picking up medication in the morning at the clinic, which opened in 2006, had increased significantly.
They claimed that cars were illegally parked on the street, at times blocking school buses and trucks try
ing to turn off of Old North Point Road on to Battle Grove Road to reach North Point Boulevard.
Alderman and the owners said Monday that the owners had tried to secure more parking spaces in several ways but ran into obstacles emanating from the county and the County Council.
“The county has frustrated everything the property owners have tried to do,” said their attorney, Howard Alderman Jr. with the firm Levin & Gann.
Gelber also said the clinic had hired a second security guard to manage traffic, and hired another nurse and extended clinic hours to relieve the early morning traffic congestion.
He also said clients are concerned the clinic may close, leaving them without treatment options.
In 2014, the owners began planning a two-story addition to the clinic, which opened in 2006 in a converted house, and in the process were granted a temporary permit for a second office trailer on the site for use during construction, ac- cording to testimony.
The owners reached an agreement with the Dreamers gentlemen’s club across North Point Road for additional parking spaces, but just as the clinic owners were getting ready to apply for the building permit for the addition in late 2015, questions were raised about the legality of the parking agreement.
As the a result, the building permit was not issued, Matz said.
“They never adjudicated it – it just held us up,” he said.
The clinic owners also contracted to buy a one-acre property at 4010 North Point Road to provide additional parking but the purchase did not go through because County Councilman Todd Crandell (7th District), down-zoned the lot as part of the Comprehensive Zon- ing Map Process (CZMP), which the Council uses to re-zone property around the county every four years.
The down-zoning from an industrial to a residential use, which followed a final Council vote in August, means it can’t be used for parking, Matz said.
The methadone clinic was also down-zoned during the CZMP with the result that the clinic and the two trailers it now uses for operations are considered nonconforming uses that can continue by right, argued Matz and Alderman.
The county, however, argues that the trailer permits were issued for temporary use during a construction period that ended with down-zoning and that permits expired at the end of December, which means they should be removed.