EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Haverhill

December 15, 2013

Lawyer: Haverhill can't stop clinic

Methadone facility is already under construction on Plaistow line

(Continued)

“I have been advised by counsel not to comment further since this matter may end up in litigation,” Fiorentini said.

Holtzman’s letter said Spectrum was formed “exclusively for educational and charitable purposes.” It includes a Land Court decision affirming that the program Spectrum plans to open in Haverhill is “an educational purpose covered by the Dover Amendment.”

The letter also includes information on other communities that have tried unsuccessfully to stop Spectrum from opening methadone clinics. The organization operates multiple outpatient clinics throughout New England.

“In light of the settled law in this area, I am hopeful that the enclosed material will suffice to ensure that the program is permitted to operate free from interference of any kind by the city,” Holtzman’s letter said.

The attorney said the city of Pittsfield recently paid Spectrum $100,000 to settle a lawsuit when that city tried to stop a clinic there.

“In the unlikely event that litigation of this matter is required, the outcome will likely be the same as a recent matter in Pittsfield,” Holtzman wrote in his letter to Haverhill’s building inspector. “There, the city made the ill-advised and ultimately quite expensive decision to interfere with Spectrum’s operation of the very same program.”

Another case in Holtzman’s letter describes the city of Weymouth’s unsuccessful attempt to have Spectrum apply for a special permit before opening a methadone clinic in that city. The letter said a federal court ruled that Spectrum was “likely to prevail on the merits” of its claim under the Dover Amendment. The court ordered the city to issue Spectrum the permits it needed to open its clinic.

Spectrum’s letter claims Haverhill’s review of its proposal is limited to “reasonable regulations concerning the bulk and height of structures and determining yard size, lot area, set backs, open space, parking and building coverage requirements.”

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