WJHL.com - Public hearing on proposed methadone clinic held in Johnson City

Public hearing on proposed methadone clinic held in Johnson City

Posted: Updated: May 28, 2013 10:01 AM EDT
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UPDATE: May 28, 2013 3:32 a.m.

A public hearing will be held tonight for a proposal to locate a methadone clinic in Johnson City. 

The hearing will be held at the Johnson City Public Library at 5 p.m.

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Several people who live in Johnson City are contacting the city asking them not to allow a proposed methadone clinic to open up shop inside the city, according to City Manager Pete Peterson.

Earlier this month, News Channel 11 told you a company named Tri-Cities Holdings wants to open a methadone clinic at 4 Wesley Court in Johnson City.

Steve Kester, one of the owners of the company, said there is a large need for an addiction recovery clinic in the Tri-Cities region.

"These are people that are trying to break the cycle of addiction, and they're having to drive 200 miles round trip on a daily basis," said Steve Kester.

Kester said he owns two methadone clinics in Asheville and he frequently sees patients from the Tri-Cities region traveling there for methadone treatment.

"This treatment has been around for over 50 years it's very well established, very well vetted," said Kester.

But, according to Peterson, the Johnson City community feelings otherwise.

In fact, he said there is a growing campaign among the city's populous against the proposed clinic.

"We will do what we can to meet the needs and the desires of our citizens, but while doing so we will have to do everything within the law," said Peterson.

Peterson said methadone clinics are allowed in the city under a special exception through the Board of Zoning and Appeals.

"There is a certain point that the approval of this clinic is well beyond what the city can control," said Peterson.

Tri-Cities Holdings filed for a certificate of need with the Tennessee Health and Development Agency.

Kester said the CON hearing will be on the fourth Wednesday of June.

Peterson said a representative from Johnson City will most likely be there.

Johnson City's Board of Zoning and Appeals will also have to approve a permit for the clinic.

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