Homeowners worried annexation proposal could bring substance abuse treatment facility to neighborhood


JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) – Some people in Gray are not happy about Johnson City’s plans to annex a portion of their community.

The area in question is a stretch of land near the intersection of Christian Church Road and Boones Station Road.

News Channel 11 spoke with homeowners along Boone Station Road who said they received a letter from the city of Johnson City that stated the purpose of the annexation request is to construct and use the land for a substance abuse facility.

“It really concerns me that’s it is kind of being pushed down our throats,” said William Palmatier, a homeowner along the road.

Palmatier is one of more than a dozen residents in the community concerned about the request for annexation.

“The bottom line is,” he said, “do you want this facility next to your house?”

Among the concerns from residents are how this will affect property values and attracting other businesses to the area.

Anthony Lee-Freeman is also concerned about safety.

“My biggest concern is what does this business do?” he said.

A suboxone clinic, Breakthrough Medical, already sits along Boones Station Road, not far from the proposed site.

A representative told us that they have no affiliation with the annexation request.

“Whether or not a substance abuse treatment facility ends up going in that site, if it’s annexed, we have no idea,” said Johnson City Director of Development Services, Preston Mitchell.

Mitchell said the request was made by the trustee Lynn Hodge and Developer David Lafemine to annex three acres of the 35-acre site, but it is still unclear what type of substance abuse facility could possibly be put on the stretch of land.

“The application for annexation did indicate that this was to be used for a substance abuse facility,” said Mitchell, “but the applicant is not bound to that statement.”

The request has moved to a third reading by the Johnson City Commission. Part of the request includes consideration of B4 commercial zoning, which has a special use ordinance for substance abuse facilities.

News Channel 11 reached out to the developer for comment and is waiting to hear back.

Mitchell said the request has three parts: the request to annex, the request to adopt a plan of services and the application of zoning.

The third reading for that request is scheduled for December 5th. There will also be a public hearing that evening.

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