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A proposed change to Sanford’s zoning ordinance adds a new Land Use category for Mental Health Practitioners. A Mental Health Practitioner is defined as one which provides diagnosis and treatment of mental, emotional, and behavioral disorders and/or the diagnosis and treatment of individual or group social dysfunction brought about by such causes as mental illness, alcohol and substance abuse, physical and emotional trauma, or stress.

The reason for proposing the new category is to differentiate practitioners offering these services from Mental Health and Abuse Clinics which may dispense medication, such as methadone or suboxone. Mental Health Practitioners will not be allowed to dispense medication, but may write prescriptions to be filled at a pharmacy. As with other medical offices, the new use would be permitted in the Urban, Industrial Business, Airport Development, and Industrial Reuse Zones.

The City Council’s Zoning Subcommittee discussed the proposal at length at its January 12 meeting. If it is approved by the City Council, ENSO Recovery plans to move its office from South Sanford to the downtown area, where clients can access treatment services much more easily. Police Chief Thomas Connolly spoke in favor of the measure. “This is a good thing for the city,” he said. “It’s going to be like any other doctor’s office.” He pointed out that other medical offices in downtown Sanford and Springvale are already offering these services, so it will not really be anything new.

There will be a public hearing on the proposed amendment at the next City Council meeting on Tuesday, January 19.

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