Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Eagle Mtn. Unanimously Approves Addict Rehab Home

" The City Council, after fielding public comments for more than an hour, unanimously voted to approve a conditional-use permit for The Ark of Eagle Mountain, a sister facility to The Ark of Little Cottonwood. Both cater to professionals recovering from drug and alcohol abuse.

The council had tabled the proposal in March, insisting that Boberg provide a detailed landscaping plan for the home.

But council members were clear that putting it in a residential neighborhood in this northwestern Utah County city was not their idea. Instead, they said it was a decision forced on them by federal law and court decisions that protect the rights of the disabled.

"I firmly believe that this is a horrible decision," said Councilman Nathan Ochsenhirt, adding that he hoped The Ark would be a "blessing to this community, and not a damnation." Like the rest of his colleagues, Ochsenhirt said he had nothing against treatment centers for addicts; he just thought Eagle Mountain was the wrong place for them.

Councilman David Lifferth said Eagle Mountain is a 45-minute ride from American Fork Hospital -- under ideal traffic conditions. That could prove deadly, Lifferth said, if one of Boberg's clients attempts suicide.

"I think it is negligence on your part to position your place so far from needed medical care," Lifferth said.

Boberg, The Ark's executive director, said Lifferth overlooked the fact that Intermountain Healthcare is building a medical facility in the city.

As for the choice of Eagle Mountain, she said it is a place where her clients will be surrounded by natural beauty as they put their lives back in order.

"As I told them before, why not Eagle Mountain?" Boberg said.

Many of the residents who spoke had reasons for wanting it to go elsewhere.

"I don't think any of us here in the neighborhood are opposed to people getting help, said Jorge Sagastume. "But in our neighborhood, you cannot run a business out of your home."" -SL Trib

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