City nixes permit for judicial services at former CAPS building

A request for a conditional-use permit at 445 Ranney St. was denied by Craig City Council this week. The request had asked the city to allow Advantage Treatment Centers to provide judicial services at the location.
Amber Delay/Craig Press

Concerned the location could turn into a correctional facility, Craig City Council spent little time discussing a conditional-use permit for judicial services at 445 Ranney St. before deciding to deny the permit. 

The request was submitted to Craig Planning and Zoning in early September by Josh Mayhugh, vice president of Advantage Treatment Centers, which currently provides judicial services out of a rented building at 59 W. Sixth St.

Advantage Treatment Centers recently acquired the former Community Alternative Placement Services building on Ranney Street with the intention of moving judicial services — including urine analyses, ankle monitor installations and community services — to the front portion of the building and renting out the existing boarding rooms there to the general public. 

City Building Official Marlin Eckhoff said the CAPS location is currently zoned for high-density residential, so renting the boarding rooms wouldn’t require a conditional-use permit but offering judicial services there would. 

On Tuesday, Oct. 25, City Council voted 6-0 to deny the requested permit. The decision kept in line with a recommendation from Craig Planning and Zoning Commission, which suggested rejecting the application because of the negative public perception surrounding judicial services at that location.

While the applicant had clearly stated that Advantage Treatment Centers’ initial plan was not to turn the former CAPS location back into a correctional facility, as it had been in the past, if the county were to issue a request for proposals, that could change. City Council members felt that the conditional-use permit could be a stepping stone to turn the location back into a correctional facility.

In prior email communications with the city, Mayhugh said that Advantage Treatment Centers “may or may not want a sober living model with some of the units.”

A public notice for a conditional use permit application submitted for the 445 Ranney St. building.
Amber Delay/Craig Press

Eckhoff also explained to council members that the city code does not address correctional, rehabilitation or substance abuse treatment facilities.  

“To make it a correctional facility, it would have to be initiated by the county commissioners,” Eckhoff said. “If the company buys the building and an RFP is initiated by the county, they would be able to use the facility as a correctional facility.” 

Advantage Treatment Centers met previously with Moffat County commissioners, and Mayhugh’s perception was that county officials were not interested in community corrections at this time. However, the end result of the meeting was still unclear, and commissioners didn’t respond this week to a request for comment from the Craig Press. 

Two community members were present at the City Council meeting to support denying the conditional use permit, stating that if the end-game for Advantage Treatment Centers was to operate a correctional facility at the former CAPS location then the conditional use permit should be denied. 

Craig Mayor Ryan Hess said he was in support of denying the permit for a number of reasons based on the city’s evaluation criteria for conditional-use permits. Reintroducing those services into the center of town doesn’t meet the city’s planning and redevelopment goals outlined in the master plan, and it doesn’t flow with the surrounding zoning in the area, he said. 

Hess added that a community corrections facility is a drain on local resources, including law enforcement, and Craig already struggles to provide enough certified addiction counseling to non-correctional clients. Hess also said that, at least to him, it seems there has been a push to locate these kinds of services in Craig.

“When the other counties have more resources but they don’t want it in their backyard, they push it to ours,” he said.

Hess said that was not necessarily the criteria for denying the conditional-use permit, but after years of being in the discussion, it’s something he feels strongly about. 

Mayhugh was not present at the City Council meeting to discuss the project, and it was unclear whether Advantage Treatment Centers would continue trying to move forward with the purchase of the building without being approved to provide judicial services on-site.  

Council member Chirs Nichols asked if there is zoning language the city could explore to specify where a facility like this would be allowed. City staff have been looking into other municipalities that have addressed the issue, and Eckhoff said there are very few.  

In other business

  • City Finance Director Katy Burns presented a draft of the city’s proposed budget for 2023. City officials commented on the number of projects Craig is able to support while still having a balanced budget. 
  • Council approved an ordinance to increase the water and wastewater rates by 2% and 3%, respectively, in line with a recommendation from the lastest rate study. 
  • Council approved a resolution for the Moffat County Local Marketing District 2023 Strategic Plan and budget. Council members commented that more outreach could be done to promote the work of the LMD, which supports many local events and the public doesn’t always know who is behind the events.
  • Council approved the renewal of a liquor license for the East Kum & Go at 700 E. Victory Way, after a violation on Feb. 24 for selling to an underaged person. Council moved the item from the consent agenda to the regular meeting for more discussion, wanting to know what action has been taken to maintain compliance. The general manager was present and reported that the worker who received the violation is no longer with the company, all staff have been trained on carding and there is increased signage to prevent sales to minors.

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