Supervisors approve 30-resident Narconon treatment center
The San Diego Union-Tribune
December 12, 2002
WARNER SPRINGS - The county Board of Supervisors yesterday gave the go-ahead for a Narconon drug and alcohol treatment center planned for the rural Sunshine Summit area, unanimously rejecting a neighbors appeal.
Backers of the program praised the supervisors decision. Narconon officials said they hope to open the 30-resident center at a former resort off state Route 79 early next year.
Chet Kalinowska filed the appeal in October after the county Planning Commission unanimously approved the project. Kalinowska argued that the 30-acre property did not have adequate water, and that security plans for a program dealing with drug addicts were inadequate.
Supervisors Bill Horn and Ron Roberts told Kalinowska and other opponents that they believed the center would use less water than previous tenants. They also said they were impressed that Narconon managers had agreed to drain a fishing pond and to limit the centers water use to less than 3 million gallons a year.
"As for the security, I dont have a problem with it," Horn said.
Jerry Marshall, the Narconon official who will manage the facility, said all program participants would have completed withdrawal therapy before coming to Warner Springs, and all would be there voluntarily. In addition, Marshall said, the center would have a full-time security director and three staff members living on site. There would be a dozen additional employees on site during the day, he said.
After the vote, Marshall met briefly with Kalinowska and urged him to call him with any complaints. For his part, Kalinowska took the vote stoically.
"I dont know what else I can do now but work with them and hope they will be good neighbors," he said. "Fortunately, this thing will come back for review in 12 months, so we can deal with problems then."
Supervisors also rejected pleas by Barbara Graham of San Diego to turn down the drug center because of its links to Scientology, which she said had a 50-year history of criminal behavior and abuse of members. Graham also said the Narconon program had a dismal record of rehabilitating drug and alcohol addicts.
More than a dozen supporters, ranging from parents to former addicts, praised the program. An equal number of Sunshine Summit residents spoke in favor of the center and said they welcomed it.
Bill Langill, pastor of the Oak Grove Community Church, praised the centers efforts to rehabilitate addicts and lauded its philosophy of community volunteering.
"Not only have they come to church services and bible meetings but they have repainted buildings in our neighborhood and helped rebuild roofs," he said. "They are a positive addition and good neighbors."