BLANCHARD – After more than three hours of discussion, public comment and outbursts of questions, the Blanchard planning commission Thursday night tabled its decision on whether to recommend rezoning land for a 90-day residential home for men recovering from drug and alcohol addictions.
People filled chairs and stood along the walls of the 86-person capacity room, while others listened outside, waiting to express their opinions for and against Second Story Ranch. The home is designed to help men recover after they have completed 30 days of inpatient substance abuse treatment.
Commission members voted unanimously to table the discussion in order to redevelop Second Story’s planned unit development proposal by incorporating some residents’ concerns brought up during the meeting.
Sheila Ridley, owner of Second Story Ranch, said the facility would be for-profit and will treat men who are CEOs, professional athletes, doctors, lawyers and other high-profile executive types. She said the facility would be for men to go to after going through at least 30 days of treatment elsewhere elsewhere.
“It is not a lock-down facility,” Ridley said. “It is not a court-ordered residence. It is not an adolescent community. It is not a treatment center. It is not...affiliated with any state program, agency or funding. It is not permanent housing. It is not generally covered by insurance and, again, it is not across the street from any residence.”
Second Story will sit on a ranch that’s 112 acres on the outskirts of Blanchard. Ridley and her staff will not provide treatment.
At the meeting Thursday evening, eight people spoke in favor of the facility and more than 11 people opposed, including people living in Blanchard, Newcastle and Oklahoma City.
Curtis Hames, who lives closest to Second Story with his wife and 8-year-old daughter, said he does not have a problem with the rezoning.
“After discussion with Ms. Ridley on my concerns with the proposal, at this time I see no issue with it, and I would just like to state I support it and have no problems.”
Meanwhile, Hazlett Farr, who owns land adjacent to Second Story, said she was against the rezoning of the property because it would increase traffic, and if residents smoked, that would be a fire hazard to her acreage.
“I don’t want it rezoned,” Farr said. “The values of our property would go down.”
Lance Lang, of Oklahoma City, told the planning commission that he had a six-figure income before his addiction overwhelmed his life.
Lang, who started Hope is Alive Ministries, a treatment house in Oklahoma City, said he would have been the type of person seeking treatment at Second Story. “It’s time (we as Oklahomans) start leading the country in something other than being addicted and start leading in sobriety,” Lang said.
Terry Holliday, who lives in a neighborhood near Second Story, said he is concerned men seeking treatment at the facility will leave and come into nearby neighborhoods, potentially stealing residents’ cars or breaking into their homes, looking for money.
“I want to say — this is a really great plan. I think it’s a great idea,” Holliday said. “It’s just in a terrible location.”
Bryan Carter, who lives in a nearby neighborhood and said he’s a police officer in Oklahoma City, said he moved to Blanchard to get away from the problems he sees every day in Oklahoma City.
Carter said people with addictions can quickly develop criminal behaviors, regardless of whether Ridley performs a background check, and regardless of whether the people at Second Story were professionals.
“To me, that doesn’t hold water,” Carter said. “They can be as criminal as the person who lives down in the ghetto in Oklahoma City.”
The next meeting is scheduled for May 8.