Judge Dismisses Application for Judicial Review Against Treatment Facility Aspire | Law courts

ANDERSON — When Mockingbird Hill Recovery Center faced opposition before it opened a year ago, it addressed some of the concerns raised.

Opponents of the project still sought judicial review of a special exception the Anderson Board of Zoning Appeals granted for the facility.

Late last year, a local judge denied that request.

Madison Circuit Court Division 6 Judge Mark Dudley’s denial said the BZA exercised its discretion and there was substantial evidence to support the decision to grant the special exception.

Opponents of the project argued that the conditions for operating the facility should have been imposed when approving a special exception.

The 100-bed rehab center is operated by Aspire Indiana Health and its partner, Progress House.

The Mockingbird Hill Music Center had not been used since 2016.

At the January 2020 meeting of the BZA, opponents of the project presented written documents and oral presentations.

The opponents presented a list of 49 proposed conditions for the opening of the establishment.

Anderson Municipal Development Department staff recommended the special exception be approved, saying it met all the requirements for a medical clinic.

In its presentation, Aspire said it would be a male-only clinic; only men over 18 would use the clinic; no one convicted of a sex crime or a violent crime would be accepted; and there would be 50 security cameras and strict curfews and bed checks.

Dudley noted that opponents agreed there was a need for an addiction center in Anderson and that their lawyer at the BZA meeting did not oppose unconditional approval.

“The BZA exercised its discretion and omitted all conditions of a well-known candidate with a good track record in the community where that candidate met all the conditions for a special exception and a review of all written and oral evidence,” Dudley wrote making the decision.

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