Main Street Inn rehab rezoning postponed

tbarton@islandpacket.comJanuary 21, 2014 

The entrance to the former Main Street Inn & Spa on Hilton Head Island.


A plan to turn a boutique hotel on Hilton Head Island into a treatment center for those suffering from addiction and depression has been postponed.

The Main Street Inn & Spa representatives asked that the matter be tabled for two weeks so they can address concerns by some nearby residents and businesses who fear the rehab center will attract drug dealers and the mentally disturbed.

Town Council largely dismissed those concerns Jan. 7, voting 6-0, with Lee Edwards absent, to recommend the property be rezoned to allow the change.

Councilman Bill Harkins, who represents the area, and Mayor Drew Laughlin said the center addresses an under-served area of island health care services.

The rezoning requires a second vote by council for final approval, which was scheduled for Tuesday. Instead, council will revisit the issue Feb. 4, after an informational meeting by the Hilton Head Plantation Property Owners Association at 10 a.m. Jan. 29 at the Plantation House.

The association offered to hold the meeting "to air the issue and to give the prospective owners of the proposed facility the opportunity to provide firsthand information and answer questions," according to an email Tuesday from the association to residents. Town Council, plantation residents and Main Street merchants are invited.

The rezoning would allow clinical services -- including diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation for drug and alcohol dependency -- and mental health services for nonviolent patients. Treatment is voluntary and would include overnight lodging, according to town staff.

The facility could not treat people serving jail sentences, recently released prison inmates or parolees, or those who require court-ordered therapy, senior town planner Jayme Lopko has said.

The center would be operated by Sunspire Health, owned by Behavioral Health Solutions, which operates several such facilities across the U.S.

Michael Gillis, chief operating officer for Sunspire Health, said the center would cater to "middle- and upper-middle-class" patients who can afford treatment, either on their own at a cost of $18,000 or through their health insurance. Typical stays are 30 to 90 days and involve group and individual therapy, as well as treatment for depression, anxiety and trauma -- symptoms that can drive someone to substance abuse, Gillis said Tuesday.

The center would blend professional treatment from trained staff with a 12-step recovery model, he said.

"Each patient will receive an individualized treatment plan with active family involvement in an inpatient setting," Gillis said.

The center would not serve the indigent or those suffering from chronic mental illness, he said.

"We run a very tight ship," Gillis said. "We are very discreet and so are our patients. The people we serve are very concerned about their privacy, keeping their anonymity and focusing on their treatment. ... We want to be a good neighbor and integrate well into the community.

"We chose Hilton Head because the same things that make it appealing as a tourist destination are the same reasons for someone looking for a treatment center."

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