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Levine gains new hearing on home medical practice

Local osteopath Dr. David Z. Levine will have another chance to try and convince the Port Orchard City Council his in-home medical practice is a good thing — both for the community and for his neighborhood.

Levine’s request for a conditional-use permit that would have allowed him to practice medicine out of his Cedar Canyon Place home was turned down by the council Jan. 26.

Although Levine’s permit application included a petition of support signed by most of his nearest neighbors, the council was concerned an active medical practice would overwhelm the narrow, dead-end road Levine lives on.

“It’s not a part-time occupation,” Councilman Ron Rider said at the time. “He needs to go look for some permanent office space.”

Another of Levine’s neighbors also testified as to the potential for parking problems, and the council voted 6-1 to deny the application.

Levine, who had not attended the Jan. 26 meeting due to a date mixup, appeared before the council Monday night to ask for a second chance. He apologized for not showing up to testify last time and asked the council to bring the denial up for reconsideration so he would have the opportunity to rebut some of the council’s — and his neighbors’ — concerns.

“I’d just like the chance to tell my side of the story,” Levine said.

Although Councilman Rick Wyatt quickly moved for reconsideration after hearing Levine’s appeal, the rest of the council appeared divided. Councilman Todd Cramer, Councilwoman Rita DiIenno and Rider all appeared satisfied with their earlier votes on the matter.

Rider, in particular, had expressed serious reservations about the number of clients — up to 15 per day — Levine anticipated accommodating.

DiIenno, at the January meeting, brought up concerns she had with the safe disposal of biohazard items, which Levine would inevitably accumulate.

At one point, Levine tried to get DiIenno recused from the reconsideration proceedings because she had previously voted against the permit while a member of the city Planning Commission. City attorney Greg Jacoby, however, said if that was to be the basis for recusal, six of the seven council members would have to step down.

“I believe a lot of council members have already voted against allowing the permit,” he said. “Ms. DiIenno is not unique in that respect.”

The council finally voted 4-3 in favor of reconsideration. Although Levine wanted to give his testimony that evening, there appeared to be others in the audience who also wanted to speak on the issue and the council decided to host a new public hearing on the topic March 9.

The council’s next meeting, Feb. 23, was rejected as a possible date because city staff would not have enough time to properly advertise the hearing.

“I hate to bring everybody back again, but I understand the need for the public to come and testify,” said Mayor Kim Abel.

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