Opinion by Gerald Trumbule
Full press coverage of a "done deal" like this one is probably a waste of your time and mine. I shot footage of the meeting, and it was interesting to meet more of my neighbors, but as Councilman Albus Brooks said on the way into the meeting "this one is a done deal". Later he mentioned that District 8 houses 80% of the City's social services, and that our housing stock is 30% Section 8. He said he had hopes that other Districts could begin to share the load, but he didn't seem optimistic.
ARTS (Addiction Research and Treatment Services), a University of Colorado funnel for US Government funding to provide methadone to heroin addicts, provided a handout at the meeting:
|Former location of Methadone Dispensary at 18th and Gaylord looking north.|
|New location of Methadone Dispensary two blocks south at 16th and Gaylord, looking south.|
Other points to be considered
1. The property at 1620 Gaylord was on the market for over two years. As I recall, it was listed at $550,000 during that time. I thought it was most likely going to be scraped, with a condo development to take its place. This was actually in progress until the property was declared "historic". I have no idea how that was accomplished, as it was apparently built in 1951 and seems to have no architectural value. I presume there is a transcript of the public hearing that accomplished this bit of magic. This historic designation blocked the condo developer from proceeding and the owner of the ARTS administration building, next door at 1648 Gaylord, Victor Kolouch of Kolouch Properties, LLC, proceeded to buy the building for $650,000.
Historic designation is often considered a burden for a new owner, as there are many rules about what may and may not be done to such a building. I can't recall an instance of a $100,000 increase after such a designation.
2. ARTS representative said they had a new lease on 1620 for 7 years. Since remodeling has already begun, I presume this will go forward. What became clear during the meeting was that the staff has absolutely no idea what goes on at this location when they are not there. For example, they were unaware that since remodeling began, homeless people have been sleeping on the property every night. Even more interesting is the fact that a crew I call the "miners" has been visiting the site every night to go through the roll-off to retrieve metal scrap.
|A visit from the "miners" at 1620 Gaylord on Oct. 4.|
4. For the immediate neighbors, 1648 Gaylord, the ARTS intake office, has been a constant problem. The problem has not come from their "clients", who are strictly guided by their rules, but from the people who drop the clients off. These folks have been a constant source of aggravation as they, a) park illegally in our parking lots, b) hang out on our property leaving trash behind and, in general, have a real attitude problem. Just two weeks ago I noticed two men hanging out behind 1648 Gaylord throwing rocks down the alley from a neighbor's parking lot. I calmly approached and asked them to stop, whereupon they began to curse and threaten me.
5. The ARTS staff mentioned that the drugs at 1620 Gaylord would be kept in a safe "so big that it has to be put in place with a fork lift". They also indicated that the building would have to be approved by the DEA before occupancy. I hope they check the roof.
I asked if the ARTS staff had planned for security at 1620 Gaylord. They said they planned to install outdoor security cameras, but could not afford an actual outdoor security guard during business hours. Our alley will require a full-time traffic director if the projected 150 clients/day show up to quaff their drugs.
One positive result from the meeting - a potential "Good Neighbor Agreement" such as is often done with bars and restaurants seeking neighborhood approval. We are working on that, and will report any progress here.
The Big Picture
Not mentioned at the meeting, but what struck me as really strange was the HUGE disparity between this government sponsored hard-drug dispensary and the recent acceptance of privately-owned "medical marijuana" dispensaries. To mention a few - for methadone - no 1000 ft rule, no public hearing required, drug consumption on site (the staff mentioned that they open at 5:30 am so that clients can come in and get their drugs before they go to work.) Yikes, drugged at work.
By the way, methadone maintenance, as it's called can go on for years. If you want to educate yourself from the addicts point of view, go here:
Speaking as an individual addict, as a treatment professional, and as a former Methadone clinic client, Methadone used as a short term detoxification tool, may have some valuable use. There isn't an addict on the face of the planet, however, that would need to use Methadone for over 30 days in order to do that. Methadone Maintenance is a joke. Methadone is a highly addictive drug with debilitating long term health consequences. Ask any addict who has been on a Methadone Maintenance program and they will tell you how most clients in those programs continue to use in spite of the Methadone. Standing in line for your dose is a good place to cop.