Marco Island Planning Board rejects drug treatment center proposal

Posted at 6:05 PM, Feb 03, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-03 19:05:06-05

Residents living near a proposed addiction treatment facility on Marco Island pleaded with the city's Planning Board Friday to not recommend the center for approval by city council.

Developer Sean Moore hopes to turn the property, which is a former assisted living center on South Barfield Drive, into a 30-bed drug and alcohol treatment center, only for clients who have the means to pay. He told board members that it wouldn't be intended for court-ordered patients.

Mike Sanzera, who lives near the site with three young children, was among several voicing concerns about having the facility close to homes.

"I've read about people with addiction," Sanzera said. "While I sympathize with their plight, I think it should be in a facility not where small kids are playing."

Moore and his attorney Bob Mulhere compared the proposed facility to Hazelden, an addiction treatment center in Naples close to homes and businesses.

Erin Marki, who lives right around the corner from Hazelden near 10th Street North and 6th Avenue North, said she has heard of no problems with living close to the facility.

"People should be able to get help if they need it," Marki said. "They're getting's not a problem."

The Marco Island Planning Board voted 5-to-2 against recommending approval of the treatment center, with city council having final say in the matter.

"I think the concerns on the island, if you talk about rehab for drug abuse, is will there be people who sell drugs and paraphernalia coming down to try to get these people when they leave," said Marco Island City Council Chair Larry Honig on Thursday.