JEFFERSONVILLE, Ind. (WHAS11 -- The security guard at the Clark County Wellness Center was not excited to see the WHAS11 crew again on Friday. Before photojournalist Dan Chesser and reporter Karma Dickerson could get out of the truck and ask if the clinic planned to comply with a city order to shut down, the clinic employee reached through the car window and threatened them. The clinic did close at about 3 p.m., if not for good, at least for the day, and neighbors couldn't be happier.
“Christmas has come early. This is the best news we could ever, ever have hoped for,” Kelli Dattilo, a concerned neighbor, said.
Since relocating from Kentucky in late July 2012, residents have watched the clinic closely, believing the doctor, Lea Marlow was over prescribing pain medication attracting vagrants and crime. For months neighbors have complained to city officials, legislators, and law enforcement; as of Friday, all have taken action.
“They have broken the concept of the grandfather rule, we have sent them a letter I actually had a police officer down here serving them”, Jeffersonville Mayor Mike Moore said.
The business had previously been allowed to operate because it opened before the city’s new zoning laws. However, on Thursday the Indiana Medical Board suspended the license of Doctor Marlow, the clinic’s only physician, while the state attorney general investigates her for practices such as prescribing Oxycodone to 95 percent of her patients.
According to Mayor Moore, Marlow’s suspension shows Clark County Welllness Center is an illegal business. He says this voids the grandfather clause in the new zoning ordinance. Enacted in October 2012, the ordinance forbids pain clinics from opening within 2,500 feet from residences, schools, parks, and churches. Therefore on Friday, the City of Jeffersonville notified Clark County Wellness to cease operations. A letter to the business and their landlord states that if the clinic is not closed in 15 business days, the City will begin assessing fines for operating in violation of zoning laws; proving to the residents, that perseverance pays off.
“This is our neighborhood and we’re going to keep it a nice, peaceful, neighborhood”, resident Dan Christensen said.
“Any community that really feels strongly in something can work together to make things better,” Datillo said.