A behavioral health clinic offering methadone and other treatments for substance use disorder was discussed at Madison’s annual town meeting on Monday. Such a clinic is planned at 2 Old Point Ave. in Madison, seen above on April 22. Rich Abrahamson/Morning Sentinel file

MADISON — Madison voters made it clear that they are concerned about a planned clinic offering methadone and other treatments, overwhelmingly passing a moratorium on such facilities at Madison’s annual town meeting Monday.

The roughly 200 residents who attended the approximately 90-minute meeting Monday night at Main Street Middle School also approved a $4.26 million municipal budget and a correction to a town ordinance that will allow existing medical marijuana retail stores in Madison to continue operating.

Town Manager Denise Ducharme said Tuesday that turnout was the largest she has seen in more than 40 years living in Madison. The meeting began about 30 minutes after its scheduled 7 p.m. start because the line to check in extended well out the door, Ducharme said.

By a vote of 179 to 9, according to Ducharme, residents approved a moratorium on new applications and permits for facilities that dispense controlled substances other than medical marijuana.

The moratorium will allow Madison’s Board of Selectmen, Planning Board, and the public to develop updates and changes to the town’s land use ordinances in response to concerns about the location of a new behavioral health clinic.

The Board of Selectmen crafted the moratorium proposal after hearing concerns from residents about the proposed site of an Acadia Healthcare facility at the former Taylor’s Drug Store at 2 Old Point Ave. Acadia is under contract to buy the building but has not yet submitted any plans to the town, town officials have said.


The Tennessee-based health care provider says it would offer a variety of treatments and services at what it calls a comprehensive treatment center. Those would include the administration of methadone and Suboxone, a combination medication containing buprenorphine and naloxone. Both are controlled substances that are used widely to treat opioid addiction in adults.

Some residents and officials said that, while they see the need for the treatment center, they were concerned about the impacts of having it in the center of town and near schools. The Old Point Avenue site is at the intersection of state routes 8, 43, 148 and U.S. Route 201A in Madison’s main business district.

Acadia representatives have told the town they are now considering other locations in Madison, Ducharme said at a recent Board of Selectmen meeting.

Like any other decision, the moratorium could still be subject to legal challenge, town officials said previously.

The moratorium excludes medical marijuana sales because voters took up a separate issue related to that substance in another town meeting warrant article.

By a vote of 142 to 67, residents Monday approved a change to the town’s ordinance on drugs and drug paraphernalia to allow retail sales of medical marijuana products.


The change was needed because Madison’s existing ordinance did not expressly allow such retail establishments. In recent months, the state Office of Cannabis Policy informed the town that since an ordinance passed in June 2018 prohibiting retail sales of marijuana did not explicitly allow for retail medical marijuana sales, existing stores selling the product are doing so illegally, Ducharme said.

With the passage of the warrant article, the Planning Board will now review the ordinance language so that Madison expressly opts in for retail medical marijuana sales, according to Ducharme.

On Monday, voters also approved all articles comprising the proposed $4,259,502 budget, which represents about a 5% increase over the budget approved last year, according to Ducharme.

Of that total, about $3.64 million will be raised through taxes, Ducharme said. Voters at town meeting approved the use of $500,000 from the undesignated fund balance to offset taxation.

The only amendment made by voters was to an article to carry forward $25,000 in capital funds for repairs to the Forest Hill Cemetery. It was amended so the funds could be used at all municipal cemeteries, Ducharme said.

The approved municipal budget does not include county and school district assessments. The Somerset County assessment for Madison is approximately $936,000, according to county budget documents. If approved by voters at the district referendum vote Tuesday, the Maine School Administrative District 59 assessment would be $5.28 million.

On Tuesday, Madison voters were expected to head to the polls for municipal elections, which include a five-way race for three seats on the MSAD 59 board of directors. All other municipal elections were uncontested.

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