Gray citizen files appeal for state to overturn approval of Gray methadone clinic

If everything is approved, the application lists the opening date as February 2017, with work on the building beginning in November.

GRAY, TN (WJHL)- A resident in Gray filed an appeal with the state of Tennessee to overturn the recent approval of a methadone clinic in Gray.

Danny Sells, who is a member of local opposition group “Citizens to Maintain Gray”, filed the petition with the Tennessee Health Services and Development Agency on Thursday. In August, the HSDA board granted a certificate of need, CON, for a methadone clinic proposed by East Tennessee State University and Mountain States Health Alliance. But Sells wants to contest the decision. “We [Citizens to Maintain Gray] feel they did not do their due diligence in requiring Mountain States to correctly outline exactly what they would do in this facility to let the state understand so they can make an appropriate evaluation on whether or not this is an orderly delivery of healthcare services,” Sells said.

An HSDA official said the appeal will go to the Secretary of State’s office where it will be assigned to an administrative law judge. Eventually, Sells, the judge, and counsel for ETSU and Mountain States will have a conference call to discuss whether or not other parties are expected to intervene as well. If so, a deadline would be set for intervention. If not, a trial date will be set. Jim Christoffersen, general counsel for the HSDA, said the trial would not be a review of the agency’s action; Sells would have the burden of proof to prove his case. In the meantime, ETSU and Mountain States can move forward with its project.

Local and state leaders planned to meet on Saturday morning to discuss the appeal and options moving forward. State Representatives Matthew Hill (R-District 7) and Micah Van Huss (R-District 6) will meet with Sells, other “Citizens to Maintain Gray” members, and Washington County Commissioners Brian Davenport. Mark Larkey, and Mike Ford.

Ahead of the meeting, Sells said, “We know that the state legislators do not have a direct role in their responsibility as state legislator but they do have influence and they know us in gray. So we’re looking for them to be advocates for us.”

The community is invited to a meeting on Monday at 7 p.m. at Daniel Boone High School where “Citizens to Maintain Gray” will provide an update on the situation. They will also prepare for the Sept. 15th Johnson City city commission meeting where commissioners are expected to hear public comment on a rezoning request for the proposed site.

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