Dickinson – Neighbors who live near and around a sober living facility in Dickinson say they have concerns about the new facility, and those concerns have caught the ear of city officials.
“This problem is under the radar for much of polite society, but it’s destroying our city, our nation, our people, our children,” said Kayleen Wardner.
She’s talking about drug and alcohol addiction, in response, the all male sober living facility known as Hopes Landing opened about six weeks ago with the goal of helping men recover from drug or alcohol addiction, a women’s version has been open for three years now in another part of town. Both projects were the creation of Western Edge Ministries, with the hopes of rehabilitating men and women and slowly get them to re-enter society after going through correctional facilities or treatment centers.
But neighbors of the five-bedroom home often paint a different picture of the facility, telling city leaders last week they think drugs are being used at the home and vandalism has occurred on their street since it opened.
“Neighborhood safety and the well being of our neighborhood has become an abundant concern. If a men’s sober living facility opened unexpectedly in your neighborhood, how would you respond as a resident?,” said neighbor Shawn Smith at last weeks hearing.
The executive director of Western Edge Ministries is Kayleen Wardner, wife of North Dakota Senator Majority Leader Rich Wardner, she agreed to sit down with KX News and defend Hope’s Landing.
There was some, vandalism on Schinagle Drive, there was vandalism on Schinagle Drive before we arrived, but anyway they said the police said that it was us, so I called the police and they said there were no such charges and no reports against us,” said Wardner
She also tells KX News one of the reasons for this is simply because they run an extremely tight ship.
“People can not be in our house, we drug test, we alcohol test, there’s curfews’ they have to be in by 10 O’Clock, our people are not running around in the middle of the night,” said Wardner
But there’s also another problem facing owners, the facility most likely needs to have a special use permit in order to operate in a residential neighborhood, Dickinson City Administrator Joe Gaa tells KX News they believe Hope’s Landing thought they were going by the book.
Group Homes are allowed uses without any special permits in residential districts, and that’s what they felt they were, we feel that they are a little bit different than a group home which is an allowable use, a treatment facility like this is an allowable use if they first get a special use permit,” said Gaa
He adds if incidents related to the facility pop up or if they are denied a special use permit, hopes landing will have to shut down, but they can remain open during the permitting process.