Council hears complaints about drug rehab center

Tuesday, June 12, 2018 0 Comments

 

A foreclosed home in Miami Lakes operating as a drug treatment center has heightened the concerns of residents living in the same neighborhood as drug addicts.

A group of residents turned to council members for help, as they fear for their lives while recovering substance abuse patients were allegedly prowling around on their properties and searching the cars for money and expensive merchandise.

The neighbors also claimed alleged drug dealers often visit the somber home at 8821 N.W. 153 Terrace, and patients can be seen smoking marijuana right in front of the homes and their backyards.

“They are lurking in our backyards, looking into our windows and checking our cars to see what they can grab,” Maria Beanies told council members at their June 5 regular meeting flanked by several of her neighbors. “This is not a safe community anymore.”

Mayor Manny Cid said he has reached out to U.S. Senator Marco Rubio, who is sponsoring a bill to repeal a federal law which allows drug treatment centers in residential neighborhoods under the ADA and Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration or SAMHSA. 

Drug addition is considered a disability, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and drug treatment centers can be place anywhere under the Fair Housing Act.

“I spoke to Rubio on the phone in dealing with the issue because it’s terrible,” said Cid. “And he told me what we can do as a town to stop it. Somber homes are not the right place for our town.”

Cid said Miami Lakes needs to strengthen the town’s code enforcement standards and the occupational licenses procedures as the first step to curtail the problem.

“They are buying homes on one block for somber homes and we need to eliminate some clusters for occupational licenses use and use tougher code enforcement for those kind of issues,” he said. “It’s an issue that we have to take care of immediately.”

Cid said town staff is currently studying an ordinance which Pompano Beach imposed in dealing with the same drug treatment centers in residential areas problem.

According to SAMHSA, under the Garrett Lee Smith Memorial Act, which was signed into law in 2004, the federal government grants funding annually specifically for youth suicide and drug prevention programs. 

Administrators for drug treatment centers must first register as a somber home and obtain an occupational license to receive funding from the presidential budget.

Under the Fair Housing Act, drug treatment centers are allowed in residential areas but no provision exists to address the concerns Miami Lakes residents are facing with substance abuse patients wondering around the neighborhood.

Cid said while Miami Lakes tackles the issue locally, he’s hoping Rubio can act fast before a terrible incident occurs in the neighborhood.

“We need legislation to stop it before it turns into an industry,” Cid said.

According to Miami-Dade County records, the home belongs to Rody Blanco and Jenny Del Pino, who are renting the property to the drug treatment center.

But the home has been in foreclosure for about a year.

The 4,839 square foot home, with an estimated value at $832,354, has six bedrooms and four bathrooms.

Blanco and Del Pino purchased the home for $795,000 in 2006, according to county records.

The mortgage for the property was $4,143 per month.

Blanco and Del Pino couldn’t be reached for comments.

The name of the center or a phone number was not listed in any of the county’s search records.  

According to several real estate agents, there’s no law that bans people from renting out their homes while in foreclosure.

“Once your rented-out home is foreclosed, you’ve lost any associated owner or landlord rights,” said Juan Hernandez, a local realtor.

Miami Lakes Town Commander Major Javier Ruiz said the police were called to the drug treatment home to break up a fight among drug addicts in the neighborhood.

“But there’s no spike in crime,” he said.

Councilmember Ceasar Mestre, who sponsored an ordinance to prevent mill pills in Miami Lakes, said somber homes don’t belong in the town.

“I would have a heart attack if they were on my block,” he said.

In other Town Council news:

• Council members gave their final approval for an ordinance to address painting standards for commercial and industrial buildings with the town.

The ordinance calls for the town manager and his staff to examine the issue and furnish possible options for the best architectural standards for future development.

• Council members gave their final approval for an ordinance which eliminates the obsolete provision of requiring 12 copies of the plans subject to a site plan public hearing.

• Lawmakers gave their initial approval for an ordinance to facilitate the complete buildout of the town’s sidewalk network, to require the repair of existing sidewalks damaged by construction work, and to require future sidewalks to be developed consistent with the town’s adopted Complete Streets plan.

• Lawmakers approved a resolution for the final plat for the Graham Companies on a 7.84 acre parcel zoned for special business district near Commerce Way and the intersection of N.W. 82 Avenue.

Lawmakers also approved the applicant’s site plan to allow a new four story mixed use development for 170 residential units and 17,063 square feet of commercial area at the intersection of Commerce Way and N.W. 80 Avenue.

The Graham Companies made a commitment to mitigate any traffic concerns with the additional vehicles near the roads in the vicinity by funding roadway projects with the addition of paying the town’s mobility fee for new developments.

The developer even delayed the project to come up with a series of options for traffic improvement projects.

Cid was the only no vote on the development site plans.

• Council members approved a resolution for the proposed 2018-2019 preliminary assessment rates for the four security guard and two lake maintenance special taxing districts, which will be mailed to residents as part of the TRIM notice.

The final assessments will have to be approved by September 15, 2018

• Lawmakers authorized the town manager to piggyback three public contracts from Miami-Dade and City of Miami for the provision of security guard services for special taxing districts in Miami Lakes.

The companies picked are Security Alliance and Kent Security Services in an amount not to exceed budgeted funds of the respective special taxing districts.

• Lawmakers approved Council member Frank Mingo’s requests for the Miami-Dade County Public Schools to spend $335,000 on two school resource officers at Miami Lakes K-8 Center and Bob Graham Education Center, or reimburse the town to fill in the 5-hour gap for officers at the two schools.

In addition, Mingo said the town should use off duty police officers to protect the schools to save money.

The town is taking caution for the next school year following the Stoneman Douglas High shooting massacre in February. 

• Council members approved Mingo’s request to find space at Miami Lakes Optimist Park for girls’ softball teams to play.

• Council members approved a request by the town’s Neighborhood Improvement Committee to replace 260 trees that were destroyed by Hurricane Irma. The town estimated the program would cost about $200,000.

• Council members approved Cid’s proposal to host a Miami Lakes Casino Night for Charity in lieu of the Mayor’s gala.

 

 

 

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