The Venice Planning Commission on Tuesday finished its work on a draft pain management clinic ordinance designed to thwart pill mills.
There was no public testimony at Tuesday’s public hearing. The draft goes next to city council for its consideration.
The city proposed the ordinance to keep a step ahead of what had become a burgeoning pill mill problem in Sarasota County before the county adopted its own pain clinic ordinance in 2011.
In large part the city ordinance mirrors the county’s. It also designates the zoning districts in which pain management clinics can be established: Office Professional and Institutional (OPI), Office Medical and Institutional (OMI), Commercial General (CG) and the Planned Commercial Development zoning district.
In all cases, a business would have to petition for a “special exception” to go into business, a process that will require it to go before the planning commission for approval. That will allow the board to include additional stipulations, if desired.
Like the county’s ordinance, this one includes development standards that require the business to prohibit loitering, the queuing of vehicles and the consumption of alcoholic beverages in the area.
Clinics and pharmacies are not allowed to be set up on the same property.
The standards also establish operating hours — from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. during the week, extending to midnight on Saturdays. The clinics are not allowed to operate on Sundays.
At Tuesday’s meeting the commission recommended the draft ordinance include an open-ended sunset provision, forcing the ordinance to be revisited sometime in the future. The commission left it up to council to determine when, if at all, that will occur.
In a previous letter of recommendation, the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office supported the city ordinance, saying the current county ordinance is working well.
Venice has only one pain management clinic within city limits currently.