King George, VA

Residents oppose plans for rehab center coming to King George

Watchful Eye

Pyramid Healthcare is developing a 2-story, 100-bed rehab facility in King George off of Owens Rd.

Members of the community who live nearby not only expressed strong opposition at last week’s board of supervisors meeting, but they wanted to know why county leaders hadn’t publicly disclosed and discussed the project.

“I was deeply disturbed about hearing about this center coming on Owens Drive and not being made aware of it as a resident of the community,” said Kim Clark, who lives in Chatham Village.
Tanya Whitaker-Harris thanks all who came out to oppose the rehab center but questions the lack of information.Photo byWatchful Eye screenshot

“Everything that has happened right there in Dahlgren, we heard about it for years. We saw it come up…But I didn’t see the same communication about this clinic that we have saw for everything else in Dahlgren.” Tanya Whitatker-Harris

It turns out the board of supervisors didn’t know anything about it. But even if they had, there’s nothing they can do because the site is zoned C-2, and a rehab facility is a by-right use, meaning it’s allowed without board approval.

The Pyramid drug treatment facility is planned for a wooded parcel behind the Sheetz that sits on Rt. 301. That places it in the vicinity of Monmouth Woods and Chatham Village.

Members of those communities came to the meeting in person and dialed in imploring the supervisors to have the facility moved elsewhere.

“It needs to be somewhere they can get the necessary help they need without putting other people in jeopardy,” King George resident Willie Williams said. He added that he has to think about the children in the community and his own grandchild.

Williams told the supervisors the intended location was “a bad place to put this place. It’s no good.” And he warned, “I don’t want to have to buy a weapon.”

He was one of many who raised concerns about addicts posing a risk to children and public safety, drug paraphernalia scattered around the community, rising crime, and attracting drug dealers to hang around the community.

“Growing up in the South Bronx, I know firsthand what a rehab center can do to a community. I want to strongly implore that we do not do this in this particular community. And that we take it somewhere else,” said Clark.

Debbie Sauls, the property manager for Monmouth Woods, said given the number of senior citizens, single parents, and young people starting out in her complex, this facility puts her in a position where she’ll have to hire security. And Sauls said she is going to have to recoup that cost from residents.

“People are struggling to make ends meet now,” she told the board.

After the public had its say, the supervisors began explaining that they had been in the dark.
Patty O'Dell said she's single and feels safe walking her dogs any time She isn't opposed to a rehab center, "just not there at Owens."Photo byWatchful Eye screenshot

“I assure you we did not see this coming,” Supervisor Ann Cupka said of the project.

Supervisor Jeffrey Stonehill said he was filled in about it by Facebook.

Chairman Richard Granger told the public he wasn't aware either. “Do I want a drug rehabilitation? Absolutely. Do I want it there? Absolutely not. Do I have an opportunity to do anything about it? Absolutely not,” he said.

“I don’t like it, I really don’t,” Granger also noted. “This is not a good area for it. I would not be in favor if we had authority to make a decision.”

Likewise, Vice-Chairman TC Collins said he didn’t want the facility in his backyard or the backyard of the people expressing concerns. But, “I feel like our hands are tied” since it’s a by-right use.

Both Granger and Collins said if anyone in the public knows of a legal way the board can intervene, they will consider the idea.

Cupka tried to offer some comfort by reading a letter providing details about the facility, including that no outpatient services or support group meetings will be offered would be offered at the facility.

The patients will be confined to the grounds for their entire stay and will not drive themselves to or from the facility. Pyramid Health will provide all transportation. Further, no patients will be released into the community upon completing treatment.

Since this project is an administrative process that goes through the Dept of Economic Development and not a board matter, “the best we can hope for is we that, administratively, we are able to come to the most favorable application we can at this point,” said Cupka.

Follow the Watchful Eye on Twitter so you never miss a story!

Did You See: King George Approved Method to Refund Car Tax?

Want to submit tips or story suggestions to the Watchful Eye? Email Want to support this independent news channel? Do it here. Any and all is greatly appreciated!

Comments / 13

Published by

Keeping watch on Virginia and what impacts Virginians

Kilmarnock, VA

More from Watchful Eye

Comments / 0