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Future drug recovery community becoming a concern for Bel Air neighbors

Posted at 5:29 PM, Mar 01, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-01 17:29:16-05

BEL AIR, Md. — Tucked off of Route 24 in Bel Air, five large, new houses and all of Ogden Court to themselves.

But neighbors backing up to the New Points sober living community, as it’s called, had no idea up to 50 recovering addicts may soon be moving in.

"You confirmed the rumors I've heard,” said Anne Bee, “It's really been 'Hush. Hush.’"

Bee says in light of the opioid crisis, there's no question recovery services are needed, but she questions locating them in an area populated with young families and children.

"I think anyone who works in the field knows the relapse rate is high,” said Bee, “My heart goes out to anyone who is battling the disease of addiction. Good people develop addiction issues. However, we know that addiction drives crime."

While New Points is already promoting the new facility on its webpage and seeking clients, the county appears to be unaware of its intended use for the properties.

"What's been applied for on that property is five single-family homes, said Harford County Government Spokesperson Cindy Mumby, “That's the use that's been applied for and approved."

Mumby says it's too early to comment on the company's intention when the houses aren't even occupied yet.

"In general, if we do receive a complaint about a use of a property, we will go out and investigate and if we do find a violation, we will follow our enforcement procedure," said Mumby.

An online petition circulating against the sober living community is nearing its goal of a thousand signatures.

"It's definitely upsetting to learn about something this serious that way and to think that we weren't even given a heads up or a notice at all," said Alex Lawhon who lives within view of the recovery houses.

"People relapse. They steal to support their habit. They can harm others," added Bee, "The problem with crime is until it happens, there's nothing that can be done."

In a statement, New Points tells WMAR-2 News the living community will be entirely drug and alcohol free, residents will be tested and anyone not living a sober lifestyle will be asked to leave.

Also, the company assures anyone with a history of violence or sexual offenses will not be allowed to live there.