Modesto News blog: McHenry Avenue methadone clinic that has drawn neighbors’ ire is moving

kvaline@modbee.comJanuary 23, 2014 

— A McHenry Avenue methadone clinic that has drawn complaints over the years from nearby homeowners about its clients’ behavior is moving.

Aegis Medical Systems plans to relocate this summer to a medical office building about a quarter mile north of its current clinic at McHenry and Modesto avenues. The new clinic is at 1235 McHenry Ave, which is across the street from CareMore and the In-Shape City fitness center.

“My goal is July 1,” said Stephen J. Maulhardt, vice president with Southern California-based Aegis Treatment Centers, which operates two dozen clinics throughout the state. “I think the current neighbors will be happy to see us close.”

Aegis will remodel its new clinic before moving and has submitted plans for the remodel to the city for review. But that has been on hold for a few months as the city and Aegis resolved whether Aegis would need what is called a conditional use permit from the city for the new clinic. City officials eventually agreed with Aegis that it did not need the permit.

Maulhardt said Aegis will lease the building at its new location but hopes one day to buy it. He said Aegis had looked at two dozen to three dozen sites over the years before finding this one. The new location is considerably larger and has more parking than the current clinic. It’s also not near a residential neighborhood.

Maulhardt said Aegis will be able to treat more patients. The current clinic helps 550 patients and has about 60 on a waiting list. The new clinic eventually will be able to treat 700 patients. Aegis has operated a narcotic treatment program at its current clinic since 1999. Besides dispensing methadone to recovering heroin and drug addicts on a daily, weekly and biweekly basis, it provides them with counseling, case management and therapy.

Modesto Avenue homeowners have complained for years that the clinic does not belong in their neighborhood. They have said that because the clinic does not have enough parking, its clients have parked their cars on their street and blocked their driveways. They also have said clients have sideswiped parked cars, dumped their trash on the street and created other nuisances.

The issue came to a head nearly four years ago when homeowners complained to the City Council. Aegis officials worked with homeowners and the police to address the homeowners’ concerns.

Several Modesto Avenue residents said this week that the clinic can’t leave soon enough, though one resident acknowledged the clinic and its clients have been better neighbors in recent years.

“I haven’t found a syringe in my yard in the last four years,” Karran Wolff said. “But there still are traffic problems. It’s still an inconvenience to the residents. It’s not a good fit.”

The owners of the building that houses the current clinic could not be reached for comment regarding their plans after Aegis leaves.

Bee staff writer Kevin Valine can be reached at kvaline@modbee.com or (209) 578-2316.

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