Florida NIMBY Tensions Seething on Sober Living Boom

Addiction Treatment Industry Newswire
03/21/2013 – ATIN – NIMBY tensions are seething in Florida as forces that oppose the expansion of sober living residences seek to pass legislation in the state capital of Tallahassee that would set statewide licensing standards and requirements for sober living operatioFlorida State Capitolns, with legislation having been introduced in the Statehouse regulating halfway house operations throughout Florida, according to treatment executives.  In response, Caron Florida Market President Drew Rothermel will be hosting a summit of sorts, which will be held tomorrow as heavyweights from the private addiction treatment business – a major cottage industry in Florida, which is the top addiction treatment “destination” market in the nation – gather to strategize a coordinated response to the growing NIMBY juggernaut.

Private Summit

On Friday, March 22, treatment executives are expected to descend on Caron’s Hanley Center campus in South Florida’s Palm Beach County, the epicenter of the private addiction treatment business in Florida, which Treatment Magazine estimates has annual revenues in the aggregate easily exceeding $1B annually statewide. Attending the gathering will be the CEOs of two key state addiction treatment industry groups, the association representing Florida recovery home operators as well as addiction treatment operators. Also attending will be heavyweight treatment centers which traditionally have spent big bucks protecting their interests against NIMBY incursions, players like Rothermel himself and Watershed Treatment Programs CFO Pat Kirse. And of course such a gathering wouldn’t be complete without a top NIMBY lawyer like Jim Green of Palm Beach, who won the first big federal anti-NIMBY ruling for Boca House founder Steve Manko against the city of Boca Raton over a decade ago.

Nothing Settled

Despite the sweeping nature of the federal ruling firmly striking down Boca Raton’s NIMBY ordinance and the seven figure award of legal fees to Manko, as well as the famous Treasure Island

suit which Caron’s Rothermel  says just last year saw an award of $3M against the city,  the hot button highly emotionally charged NIMBY issue appears to be far from settled.  A key NIMBY agent driving this latest anti-sober house surge has been Delray Beach’s newly elected mayor Cary Glickstein, a political newcomer bitterly opposed to the huge growth in recovery homes.

Imminent Threat?

Delray Beach attorney Jeffrey Lynne, whose firm Weiner Lynne and Thompson PA has a specialty of representing treatment centers, isn’t particularly worried about the threat out of the capital.  “The legislation as it is written is will not pass judicial or constitutional muster,” he said, adding that in particular it violates the federal Americans with Disabilities Act, among other federal statutes.