During their last regular meeting, the South Padre Island City Council held a public hearing regarding the approval of a new Specific Use Permit for a substance abuse treatment facility on the Island. Based on consideration of current city ordinances and compliance standards for state and federal discrimination laws, the City Council approved the permit for Outcomes Detox and Recovery Center.
Businessman and Internal Medicine Specialist Dr. Jorge Guevara, who owns Medical Associates of Brownsville as well as the only clinic on South Padre Island, has obtained state licensing to expand his Brownsville detox and recovery facility to South Padre Island. The proposed location for the facility is located at 5508 Padre Blvd., which lies between Kelly’s Irish Pub and Treasure Trove Consignments, a resale shop and licensed firearm dealer.
Concerns regarding the facility’s proximity to available alcohol and firearms were brought up by citizens who lived and worked nearby the proposed site; however, Guevara assured the council that it would be primarily focused on voluntary recovery after patients went through detox at his Brownsville office. The facility is licensed to house 20 beds.
The SPI Planning and Zoning committee recently recommended denial of the permit due in part to those concerns, however, according to City Development Director Dr. Sungman Kim, the recommendation for denial was also due to a lack of information including a business plan.
After receiving further plans for the facility and reviewing current city ordinances, staff recommended approval of the permit. Ultimately, with consideration for discriminatory business concerns and upon review of current ordinances, the City Council maintained consistency with requirements for Origins Recovery Center and approved the Specific Use Permit to allow Outcomes Detox and Recovery Center to do business on South Padre Island.
Also on the agenda, Public Works Director Armando Gutierrez gave the council an update on street construction progress including Phase 4 of the Gulf Boulevard project. Based on previous decisions by the council, staff began construction on Hibiscus Street and has held off on Gulf Boulevard during the busy summer season. However, the outdoor construction is extremely affected by inclement weather, sometimes halting work completely for days or even weeks at a time, the Mayor had particular concerns about postponing the start date until the fall. Phase 4 of the project is expected to last 225 work days, potentially running until fall of 2017.
Councilwoman Alita Bagley also addressed the council and citizens, informing the group about a recent meeting with State Sen. Eddie Lucio, Jr. (D-Brownsville), Rep. Rene Olivera (D-Brownsville) and county commissioners to review grant applications for the RESTORE Act, which is a product of the Deepwater Horizon, or BP Oil Spill. According to Bagley, the representatives showed support throughout the process. Bagley also hinted at exciting new projects and ideas in the works, saying, “Keep your fingers crossed, and just know that we’re working hard to get some of the funds down here and some really wonderful projects that if we do get funded, we will be thrilled to have.”
By: Abbey Kunkle