We can all agree that substance use disorder (SUD) is a problem here in Frankfort and across Kentucky and the country. And while many folks are helping to break the stigma of addiction, they are facing pushback from others who don’t seem to understand that recovery is possible and most of those in the throes of the disorder are not criminals but rather people who need and want help.

Dr. Mark and Melissa Deaton are trying to do just that with Not Forgotten Recovery, a residential treatment facility for men, that they hope to operate. Having already gotten a text amendment approved by the Franklin County Fiscal Court that would allow residential treatment facilities added to the land use table as a conditional use in the Agricultural (AG), Rural Residential (RR), Rural Residential B (RB), Professional Office (PO), Rural Limited Commercial (CL), General Commercial (CG), Highway Commercial (CH), Industrial Commercial (IC) or General Industrial (IG) zones, the couple is now seeking a conditional use permit from the Frankfort/Franklin County Board of Zoning Adjustments in order to operate the center at 505 and 507 Johnson Road.

At the April 12 Frankfort/Franklin County Board of Zoning Adjustments meeting, Franklin County Planning Supervisor Ben Judah reported positive findings for the issuance of the conditional use permit.

However, neighbors — the majority of whom were against the location of the proposed residential treatment facility — packed City Hall for an opportunity to vocalize their objections, which ranged the gambit from security, infrastructure, flooding and draining issues to property damage and the infiltration of drugs into the neighborhood.

Which leads us to wonder whether neighbors would have raised the same concerns if an afterschool center for youth was being proposed on the same property?

In addition to a number of misconceptions about SUD and those who suffer from the disorder, one recurring theme throughout the meeting was “not in my backyard.”

“I ask you all, if this was a quarter mile from your home, would you be concerned?” Jim Charlton, who lives on Johnson Road and was more gentle than most of the others that spoke, inquired. “I have nothing against helping people. I think the location is terrible.”

Ultimately, after hours of listening to testimony, the board unanimously opted to table its vote until the May 10 meeting.

The Deatons have gone to great lengths and jumped through all the required hoops in an effort to help others and should be awarded the conditional use permit. We believe that Franklin County is desperately in need of a facility to treat those who suffer from SUD and the "not in my backyard" logic is not enough to decline their application.

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