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Did You Realize That the Typical Conditional Use Permit Process Was Circumvented?

Summary of Emails Between The City of Camas and Discover Recovery

September 28, 2020: 

(2:07pm) E-mail from Discover Recovery Rep to Bob Cunningham

  • Discover Recovery representative notifies Bob C. that they are interested in buying the Fairgate Estate for use as a detox center but is confused about Camas Zoning Code.

  • “When I look at [the Code] I don’t see this specific use named. I need help determining what to call the detox center use.”

  • [Is it a Residential Treatment Facility that would need a zoning amendment or a similar to a use in the code that might work, like “convalescent home”]

  • “The Buyer would like to know that he can operate his treatment facility in the building before purchasing the property.”

  • “They are aware that they may need to apply for a Conditional Use Permit (“CUP”)…but that is a fairly lengthy process.  The seller does not want to tie up the property until a CUP is complete.  Is there a way to come up with some certainties?”

 

September 29, 2020: 

(12:40pm) E-mail from Robert Maul to Discover Recovery Rep  

  • I spoke to Discovery Recovery about this a few times during the summer of 2020.

  • Since the detox center is a new use:  “[Discover Recovery] would need to apply for a zoning text change which is a legislative process that would go before the Planning Commission with a recommendation to the City Council.”

  • Attaches Camas Municipal Code electronically highlighting Sec. 18.55.030(G):

    • Type IV land use decisions must be referred by majority vote of the planning commission to the City Council for final action.  Robert Maul specifically highlights the section of the City Code they must follow for Type IV land use decisions.

    • These decisions “must be referred by a majority vote of the entire planning commission onto the city council for final action prior to adoption by the city.  The city council’s decision is the city’s final decision.”  CMC Section 18.55.110(G)

 

(1:04pm)  E-mail from Discover Recovery Rep to Robert Maul 

  • “It is my understanding that there would be two options for making a decision on this.  One you have described.  The other is, per the Code, ‘The Community Development Director may determine whether a proposed land use not specifically listed in the [Code] is allowed in a zone.”

  • “The time and expense involved in applying for a legislative decision, without any certainty of it being approved, may be more risky that what the buyer or seller are willing to invest.”

  • “My hope is that we might pursue the path of a determination by the Community Development Director.”

 

(1:44pm)  E-mail from Robert Maul to Discover Recovery Rep 

  • “The City has been clear on what path your client will need to take if he wishes to move forward with a project there. I’m happy to discuss the legislative process if you like.”

 

(2:12pm) E-mail from Discovery Recovery Rep to Robert Maul  

  • “Is there any way to get a preliminary ruling or see if it looks favorable to achieve the decision [we want]?”

 

September 30, 2020:

(10:29am) E-mail from Robert Maul to Discover Recovery Rep 

  • “Zoning text changes are considered Type IV processes which are legislative.” City staff provides a report to the Planning Commission who holds a public hearing then offers a recommendation to the City Council.  The Council holds a public hearing and makes a decision.

  • “Because this is policy, there are no guarantees on outcome.  As such, it is impossible for me to provide some sort of preliminary ruling.”

 

October 19, 2020:

 

(11:56pm) E-mail from Discover Recovery lawyer (Kristine Wilson, Perkins Coie) to Robert Maul         

  • The lack of clarity in the Camas Code qualifies for the Community Development Director’s determination pathway to close a “gap” in the Camas Code.

  • Based on client’s communications with the City Staff, it appears the City is overlooking using the Community Development Director’s authority to get this approved.  “I would like to discuss this option further…as an alternative to a text amendment.”

  • “Our client is seeking this information in connection with a potential purchase of property and time is of the essence.”

 

October 22, 2020:

 

(11:31am) E-mail from Phil Bourquin, Community development Director to Kristine Wilson                  

  • “It is my belief that the [detox center] use is consistent with the definition of “Residential Treatment Facility” as defined under the Washington Administrative Code.”

  • “I agree with Robert Maul that the appropriate process for the described use is a “code text amendment” under a Type IV process.  This process provides an opportunity for public discourse and city policymakers to define, classify and determine the most appropriate zoning for new uses within our jurisdiction.  It squarely places local land use control in the hands of policymakers and the citizens they represent.”

 

 

October 22, 2020 to December 10, 2021 (7 weeks)​

**NO DOCUMENTS PROVIDED DURING THIS TIME PERIOD IN

THREE SEPARATE FOIA DISCLOSURES TO DFSA**

 

 

EVENTS

December 10, 2020:      

City of Camas issues Pre-Application Notes related to Discover Recovery proposal to change Fairgate Estates from an assisted living home to a “convalescent home.”  They submitted a Type III Conditional Use Permit that will be decided upon by the Clark County Hearings Examiner, instead of a Type IV land use decision adjudicated by the Camas City Council.  Complete 180 change. 

Despite the October 22, 2020 email from the Community Development Director saying this was a Type IV land use decision, the City of Camas Planning Department does not object to or reject Discover Recovery’s Type III permit pre-application.

January 21, 2021:          

Discover Recovery submits Type III CUP Application (not Type IV to the Planning Department/City Council).  States the detox center is a “convalescent home” pursuant to the Camas City Code.  Complete 180 change.  

Despite the October 22, 2020 email from the Community Development Director saying this was a Type IV land use decision, the City of Camas Planning Department does not object to or reject Discover Recovery’s Type III permit pre-application.

February 2, 2021:          

Discover Recovery purchases Fairgate Estate property for $2.3M  Despite several attempts to seek clarity and assurance from the City about the ability to use Fairgate Estate prior to purchase, Discover Recovery buys the property before the Hearings Examiner and Public Comment “process” even begins.

February 12, 2021:        

Planning Department deems CUP Type III Application “technically complete”.  Now Discover Recovery’s application can proceed to public notice prior to a public hearing before the hearings examiner. The City of Camas Planning Department does not object to or reject Discover Recovery’s Type III permit proceeding.

February 17, 2021:        

Citizens of DFSA make FOIA request asking for all public documents related to the purchase of Fairview Estates by Discover Recovery, the CUP permit and/or CUP application process.

March 3, 2021:               

Camas provides first set of DFSA’s FOIA documents. The September/October 2020 emails described in the timeline are not provided.

 

March 16, 2021:             

Planning Department issues staff report stating:

  • As a Conclusion of Law, that “the detox center use is defined as a “Nursing, rest or convalescent home pursuant to Camas City Code. (The Camas Community Development Director said the exact opposite in October 2020. No documents have been provided in the FOIA responses to explain how that position changed.)

  • City staff recommends proceeding with the hearings examiner process as a Type III land use decision.

  • The staff report expressly notes that one of the public concerns expressed prior to city finalizing its staff report: “The city council and mayor should be the final decision makers for this permit.”  Despite this noted concern which is the exact same concerns noted by the Planning Department in September/October 2020, the Type III CUP proceeds to the public hearing before the hearing examiner.  

 

March 17, 2021:             

Camas provides second set of DFSA’s FOIA documents.  The September/October 2020 emails described in the timeline are, again, not provided.

 

March 24, 2021:             

Public Hearing before Hearing Examiner

 

April 28, 2021:               

Hearing Examiner Approves Discover Recovery’s Type III CUP

 

May 3, 2021:                   

City Council Workshop

(Starting @ 1:41.00 of video)

  • Council discusses the Detox hearing examiner decision.  Agree that they need to re-look at the Camas code to see if they can prevent these types of uses near schools in the future. 

  • Council member Hogan commenting on how the City is reactive to zoning problems.  “I feel like in baseball…In baseball, they say you can’t hit what you can’t see.  It seems like we can’t see these things coming.  It’s like they seem to come at us from the side as a City.  And, we just need help from the Staff to kinda find out in advance where the next problem might be that we have overlooked or not thought of before.”

 

May 11, 2021:                

Camas Mayor abruptly resigns.

 

May 12, 2021:                

DFSA Files Petition for Reconsideration.

 

May 17, 2021:                

DFSA resubmits FOIA request for documents asking for additional documents attempting to fill in noticeable gaps of time where no documents were disclosed in previous FOIA responses.

May 20, 2021:                

Camas Post Record runs story about Detox administrative dispute and City Council potential ineffective leadership and support on this critical safety issue for Camas.

May 24, 2021:                

Hearing Examiner Denies Petition – Final Decision Approving CUP entered.

 

May 26, 2021:                

City Administrator abruptly resigns.

 

May 26, 2021:                

Discover Recovery Medical Director (Dr. Klos) signs interim order with Oregon Medical Board pending the conclusion of an investigation into his medical practices.

                                           

  • Dr. Klos is the Medical Director of Discovery Recovery. 

  • Per his resume, he is the Medical Director of at least 3 Rehabs/Detox facilities in Oregon and Washington

  • The Stipulated Order significantly restricts his ability to prescribe opiates to only one less addictive/harmful Schedule III drug – not Oxycontin, for example.

  • The Stipulated Order states he cannot prescribe opiates to clients receiving in-patient treatment in Oregon.

  • This Order was necessary because "the results of the Board's investigation to date have raised concerns to the extent that the Board believes it necessary that Licensee agree to certain terms until the investigation is complete." 

 

Discover Recovery’s location in Long Beach, led by Dr. Klos, has been investigated by the Washington Department of Health. 

 

Investigation issues included:

  • Ordering large quantities of controlled drugs, but not given to clients

  • Staff destroying or diverting large amounts of controlled drugs

  • Staff falsifying patient charts

  • Admitting clients in need of hospital detoxification care

  • Improper medication tapering

  • Patient holding a staff member hostage in the kitchen

  • Accepting clients with serious mental illnesses

 

June 3, 2021:                

Camas provides third set of DFSA’s FOIA documents.  The September/October 2020 emails described in the timeline are finally provided.  The emails are provided after the Hearing Examiner issues his final decision on Discovery Recovery’s Type III CUP.  These documents were materially relevant to the Hearing Examiner proceeding but could not be offered to the Hearing Examiner for consideration since the final decision was already rendered.

 

June 9, 2021:                

DFSA submits to the City two separate requests for any additional public documents related to the Discover Recovery matter not previously disclosed by the City.

 

June 13, 2021:              

The City responds to DFSA’s June 9 document requests by stating that due to staffing constraints, “the first installment of responsive records will be provided on Wednesday, June 23, 2021.”

 

June 23, 2021:              

The City supplements its response to DFSA’s June 9 document requests by stating, “We are continuing to review records for legal exemptions. Further, we are confirming potential exemptions per RCW 42.56.290 Controversy Exemption.” The City states that by Wednesday, June 30, 2021, it will provide DFSA with another “update”.

Read Emails Between
The City of Camas & Discover Recovery
In Their Entirety Here: