Halfway House Exemption Denied By Rhinelander

May 13, 2014

Following a recommendation byRhinelander's Planning Commission, the city council Monday unanimously denied an exception that would allow a halfway house on Phillip St.

The Department of Corrections had recommended Rhinelander get a place where people with alcohol and other chemical dependencies could reside. Attic Correctional Services found a property at 835 Phillip Street, across from West Park, that met requirements. But at a public hearing several weeks ago a large number of nearby residents voiced opposition.

City ordinance prohibits Community Based Residential Facilities within 2500 feet of each other. The Phillip Street location fell within the boundary and as City Administrator Blaine Oborn reports, the council would need to provide an exemption for the facility to be permitted...

"...the state statutes provide that a CBRF cannot be within 2,500 feet from another CBRF unless the local municipality grants an exemption and that is what we have before us tonight..."

Council member Mark Pelletier felt granting the exemption would set an unwise precedent, opening up calls for more CBRF's within the 2500 foot distance...

"....because you are opening Pandora's box once you do it once or twice and personally, I feel, if we allow this to pass, everyone every one of those circles on there(map) will end up with clusters, too..."

The vote to deny the exemption was unanimous.