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Nitro city officials work to restrict locations of drug treatment and homeless facilities

Nitro City Council passes the first reading of an amended ordinance Wednesday that would restrict the location of a potential drug treatment facility or center that provides services to the homeless. (WCHS/WVAH)

Nitro City Council passed the first reading of an amended ordinance Wednesday that would restrict the location of a potential drug treatment facility or center that provides services to the homeless.

Nitro Mayor Dave Casebolt said their goal is to get ahead of potential crime. Casebolt said there has been no request for a facility of this type, but council members hope to put a ban in place before it happens.

"We recognize some of the problems other cities have had," Casebolt said. "We just don't want those problems in an area that is close to where our kids are."

The ordinance reads: "On and after August 8, 2018, rehabilitation center activities, addiction treatment center activities, food distribution center activities, social service activities, secondary social service activities, or homeless shelter activities may not be provided at any structure, whether operated as a social services facility, church, or similar charity within 1,000 feet of a school, playground, library, athletic field or park, senior citizen living facility, public swimming pool, or city park."

Nitro Police Chief Bobby Eggleton said he supports the move by city council members. After years of law enforcement experience in Charleston, Eggleton said he has seen firsthand how some facilities of this nature have a negative impact on the community.

"We want good citizens to come and be a part of our community," Eggleton said. "We don't want someone who is going to come and bring problems to our area. If a facility like this starts in the city of Nitro, I am more than positive that we will see an increase in property crimes and an increase in the homeless population."

Mother and Nitro resident Kayla Lawson said she understands putting a ban on these centers around schools and playgrounds, but hopes people will have somewhere to go if they need help.

"I agree with not allowing them near a school," Lawson said. "I feel like there has to be somewhere for these places to go. I think some people still need a helping hand."

The Nitro Mission Team provides resources to community members across Nitro. Casebolt said its programs will not be affected.

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