Maryland County Delays Vote on Scientology-Backed Rehab Center

April 22, 2015

The Frederick County Council delayed a vote Tuesday on whether to approve a historical designation for Trout Run, a Camp David stand-in on “The West Wing” that a Scientology-affiliated drug rehabilitation program wants to use as a treatment facility.

Narconon, a controversial program that relies on saunas and the writings of Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard to treat heroin addicts and other drug abusers, needs the designation because the 40-acre property’s zoning doesn’t allow such uses. A listing on the county historical register would.

Narconon has waged a significant effort to convince officials that the property is historic. A consultant hired to research the property’s history wrote at length about the site’s rustic architecture and connection to past presidents, including Herbert Hoover, who once “reeled in a fine one-and-one-half pound trout.”

This was the second vote delay. County officials said the council has been flooded with feedback from residents in the past two weeks, and, earlier in the day, members received a lengthy presentation from the project’s attorneys and consultants.

Council Vice President M.C. Keegan-Ayer (D) moved to delay the vote until members could review the new materials as well as other records connected with the proposal. The council approved her motion 4 to 3. It’s not clear when the issue will come up again.

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