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New Kent leaders strike down recovery center, voicing concerns for public safety

Former Makemie Woods church camp
Posted at 10:26 PM, May 09, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-09 23:21:48-04

NEW KENT COUNTY, Va. -- The New Kent Board of Supervisors has voted against allowing a faith-based drug recovery center to come to the county.

The board rejected the facility with a final vote of 4 to 1.

The vote comes after multiple residents spoke out against the facility in Monday night's meeting. The majority of public comment on Monday night was opposed to the facility moving in.

When it came time for the board to vote, the consensus seemed to be they believed that while the organization is doing good work, they don't believe that the facility would be good for the New Kent community.

Those who spoke out said they were concerned about impacts on law enforcement, vetting and a lack of medical staff on site.

"The safety of our rural community cannot be guaranteed as they themselves acknowledged. They legally are not allowed to restrain students and the walkways
have and will continue to happen here," Sandy, a New Kent resident, said.

Faith Recovery, the faith-based drug and substance abuse rehab program, was looking to move to New Kent County to an old summer camp property owned by the Presbytery of Eastern Virginia from their current location in downtown Newport News.

Leaders said the property has just about everything they need like dorms and meeting spaces. The group added that the rural environment would also be better for the people they serve.

The organization's CEO and others laid out what they do, how they do it and their credentials, hoping to ease concerns and gain trust and confidence from the community.

Ultimately, these efforts failed as the board voted down a use permit request.

Those in support of the facility said the backlash from the New Kent community only further stigmatizes the issue of addiction.

"A recovery center is not a threat to New Kent County, it's not an attack on our community. Our greatest danger is not facing the reality of what's already going on here in New Kent and every other community," Donna Godsey, one New Kent resident, said.

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