Scientology’s Narconon drug rehabilitation center is moving forward in an effort to get their Trout Run property designated as a historic place.
After a significant blow last year in its effort to register as a historic place, Narconon filed an appeal in circuit court this week asking the Judge to overturn the previous ruling rejecting the historical designation of the proposed rehab site.
In June last year, Frederick County Council came out in large numbers and voted 6-1 against the proposed decision of conceding the historic designation to the Trout Run Property. After the voting exercise, the Social Betterment Properties International (SBPI) immediately filed an appeal in the circuit court pleading with the judge not to make a ruling based on the council’s vote. SBPI is the Church of Scientology real estate branch.
In their appeal presentation, the SBPI lawyer was of the opinion that the council vote was compromised by the residents who argued that the Church of Scientology was a “cult.” They were also against Narconon, which according to them had a troubling pre-existing track record.
The Scientology church created the drug rehabilitation program based on Founder L. Ron Hubbard’s discoveries and writings. The U.S. Department of Defense is using one of their techniques on Gulf War veterans in an effort to determine if it improves symptoms of Gulf War Syndrome.
A moratorium was declared on June 2, after the council had voted against placing Trout Run on the register. New applications were put on hold to allow the council to examine the county's historic preservation processes adequately. The moratorium has now expired.
In the county’s defense, the Sr. Assistant County Attorney Wendey said, “The hearing did not focus on who the applicant was.” To lend further credibility to her decision, the attorney added, “That was not the decision the council used. The council was interested in the historic nature of the properties.”
Jennifer Kneeland, the attorney representing SBPI said that the council’s previous decisions regarding similar historical preservation showed prejudice in the case against Narconon. “It is clear from the record that the departure from the treatment that all prior historical preservation applicants were afforded, coupled with the clear, religious animus exhibited against petitioner, shines a light on the ‘Not in My Backyard’ mentality that improperly guided the council’s decision. Social Betterment Properties International owns the property and has always intended to preserve this beautiful, unique area for the county,” she said.
In a declaration recorded from the Narconon officials, they stated, “We will continue to explore all options available to open a rehabilitation facility at Trout Run to help in the fight to stem the area’s horrendous drug abuse problem.”
Judge William R. Nicklas Jr. will deliver a ruling in 30 days.