Johnson City to hear proposed methadone clinic zoning request Tuesday

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A request by a proposed methadone clinic will go before the Johnson City Board of Zoning Appeals Tuesday and members of the public will get the chance to share their thoughts, but whether people are for or against the proposal the BZA likely won’t have much choice but to approve the clinic’s request.

Crossroads Treatment Center of Tri-Cities is hoping to build a 6,000 square foot non-residential substance abuse treatment facility on a vacant piece of land at 413 Princeton Road. To move forward with that plan the clinic first needs a so-called special exception from the city.

According to City of Johnson City Attorney Erick Herrin, the land is already properly zoned for a methadone clinic and since the proposal meets the city’s additional requirements for parking space and location on a collector street city staff members are recommending the BZA approve the special exception. Herrin says it is not the city’s job to determine whether Crossroads can provide quality medical care.

“It is not the city’s role, because we don’t even have a doctor on staff,” Herrin said. “We are not capable with credibility talking about quality medical care.”

Herrin says that decision is up to the Tennessee Health Services and Development Agency. Herrin says that agency will be the one that decides if a methadone clinic can and will open in Johnson City. The HSDA will hear Crossroads’ request for a Certificate of Need on February 24th in Nashville, according to Herrin.

“We want to make sure that they look at the quality of any methadone clinic program,” he said.

According to Herrin, Tennessee is home to 11 methadone clinics. He says two of those are in Knoxville. Johnson City’s BZA meeting will begin at 6 pm Tuesday, January 5th.

A News Channel 11 investigation back in May found the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services has penalized Crossroads’ clinics in that state over the years. Public records related to Crossroads’ Weaverville, Asheville and Greensboro clinics revealed penalties for “failure to protect patients from harm, abuse, neglect, or exploitation,” failure to ensure state and national criminal record checks for employees within five days of hire, inadequate training, dosing errors and failure to ensure client program compliance.Copyright WJHL 2015. All rights reserved.

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