Ohio Treatment Facility Files Suit After Zoning Challenges

Baymark Health Services of Ohio filed a complaint Friday regarding an allegedly discriminatory application of zoning laws by the City of Parma Heights, Ohio. This complaint, filed in the Northern District of Ohio, stated that the city was intentionally delaying and denying the right to a zoning accommodation in the face of a very large need among its citizens for treatment.

The complaint explains that opioid deaths are on the rise nationwide, and cites studies indicating that Ohio is one of the epicenters for deaths involving opioid and other restricted drugs. The plaintiff said they specialize in opioid treatment centers that dispense medications, counseling, and recovery services to patients suffering from opioid dependence as regulated under the federal Substance Abuse and  Mental  Health  Services  Administration  (SAMHSA).

The plaintiff said they applied for planning board and zoning review for a parking lot, but these reviews were marked with multiple requests for information above and beyond the scope of the parking application, including reviews of internal structures, requests for information about the plaintiff’s business model, and requests for studies regarding the necessity of the plaintiff’s business. Additionally, the complaint alleged that while the applications were pending before the planning commission, the Commission also began moving forward on rezoning motions that would specifically exclude the plaintiffs treatment center, while still pending the applications process.

The plaintiff argued multiple causes of action, including 1) violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act by preventing the clinic from operating due to a dislike of the patient’s conditions, 2) violation of the Rehabilitation Act 9 U.S.C. § 794(a) by preventing the patients from receiving approved treatments for their disabilities, 3) deprivation of property interest without due process due to the stalling and capricious actions of the zoning commission, and 4) denial of equal protection due to imposing requirements beyond those required of other applicants. The plaintiffs are represented by Vorys, Sater, Seymour and Pease.