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Fresh Coast Alliance expands search for right location to open residential treatment facilities

Muskegon City Commissioners denied Fresh Coast Alliance's zoning request to build two 15-bed residential treatment facilities at 1128 Roberts Street.

MUSKEGON, Mich. — Tuesday Muskegon City Commissioners voted unanimously to deny a request to rezone property at 1128 Roberts Street from Single-Family Residential Low Density to MC Medical Care.

The request was made by Fresh Coast Alliance in an effort to build two 15-bed residential treatment facilities on 2.3 acres in the city’s Sheldon Park Neighborhood. The property targeted for development is adjacent to Fresh Coat Alliance’s training Center.

Fresh Coast Alliance planned to use the facility to help community members recover from drug and alcohol addictions.

The vote to deny the zoning change came after several Sheldon Park residents voiced opposition to the project, and let Muskegon City Commissioners know they believed the treatment facility would make their neighborhood unsafe.

The facility could have offered a safe space for men and women to receive 24-hour support for between three and six months as they broke free from addictions to drugs and alcohol. It’s a service that isn’t currently available in Muskegon or Muskegon County according to Fresh Coast Alliance Executive Director Joe Whalen.

"We've been lacking these resources here in Muskegon County for a long time," said Whalen. "I'm less concerned about this particular project than I am about the stigma of those who we work with and those we represent."

Whalen says since the zoning request was denied he’s heard from a number of community leaders pledging support to help Fresh Coast Alliance find another location to build or open a substance abuse treatment facility.

"We know we need this somewhere in the city, we know we need this somewhere in the county and we’re going to go back to the drawing board and figure out where it makes sense and where it fits,” he said.

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