Bill Fawley was a lawyer who started coming in contact with women dealing with substance abuse problems. Eventually he felt a strong desire to help some of the women, enough to resign as a partner in a law firm.
He is now the executive director and founder of All Things New, a not for profit Christian based ministry designed to provide treatment and hope to women struggling with various types of substance abuse addictions.
All Things New is eyeing an approximately 16 acre tract of ground on CR 375N, just east of CR 400E in Tippecanoe Township. Presently it is farmland where soybeans are grown.
The intent is to build a residential rehabilitation facility for women dealing with substance abuse issues. A petition to build the facility was presented to the Kosciusko County Board of Zoning Appeals during its regular monthly meeting Oct. 14 in Warsaw. But the petition was tabled due to a lack of a specific site plan until the Dec. 9 meeting, and there were also several remonstrators living nearby and even as much as a mile or two away who expressed various concerns.
Fawley was interviewed by The Mail-Journal and said the land was chosen because it is currently owned by his father, Max Fawley, who also owns about half of the land immediately surrounding the tract. Bill Fawley lives less than a mile away and grew up in the area, too. “I don’t want to do anything to harm my neighbors,” he said.
“We realize when the two words ‘addiction rehab’ are used, it brings out all sorts of fears,” he said. “We knew no matter where we chose to petition, there would be opposition.” But, he noted, at least a few of the nearby property owners are in support and have no problems with the proposed facility.
Fawley emphasized the facility would house a maximum of 16 women and be voluntary. Women would not “be held against their will” and if they choose to leave, transportation will be provided.
A more detailed site plan is being developed and according to attorney Steve Snyder, representing Fawley, those details will be made available to remonstrators before the December BZA meeting.
Substance abuse is a major problem in the area and, Fawley said, presently there are no residential rehab facilities specifically for women in Kosciusko County, though there is one just across the county line into Elkhart County. He said part of the problem is those with addictions are released and often go back to the same neighborhood and people and end up being arrested again. But a goal of All Things New will be to get residents involved in local churches so they are exposed to new people and a different environment.
He noted the facility would be located as close to the center of the parcel of land as possible and would not be visible from the road, but exact placement is hinging on state regulations concerning placement of the septic system. He added he did go door to door to provide materials to nearby residents before the Oct. 14 meeting.
Concerns Of Remonstrators
Many living nearby said at the BZA meeting they want more details about the proposed facility and are concerned about safety and security. They want to know specifically where the building will be located, its size and how many women will stay in each room.
Another concern is active farmland ceasing to produce crops, though Fawley said the intent is to leave part of the land in farming and possibly to use crops as a buffer to help shield the facility.
But attempts to obtain comments from even a few of the remonstrators against the petition have, for the most part, been unsuccessful. An attorney representing a husband and wife opposed to the petition declined to make any specific comments and instructed his clients to do likewise.
Contact was made by telephone with another remonstrator who indicated she would later provide comments, but she was not heard from again even after a follow-up phone call. An email was received anonymously from a “concerned neighbor” who indicated they would talk to neighbors and provide contact information to The Mail-Journal, but that information was not provided as of press time.
One woman who asked her name not to be used said she felt like the concerns of the neighbors were not taken seriously at the BZA meeting “and if they (All Things New) would have had a detailed site plan, it probably would have been approved.”
Though whether or not property values of nearby homes would be reduced is not clear, having such a facility would not improve the area’s “economic value,” she added. A petition is being circulated among those opposed to get signatures, she said.