Christian County Commissioners denied a March 9 appeal to send a proposal for a drug rehab facility back to the county’s planning and development commission.
The facility was first discussed Dec. 18, 2017, at a public hearing which lasted more than 3 hours, according to Headliner News archives. There, neighbors and other attendees cited concerns including safety, traffic and decreased property values in the proximity of the proposed facility.
The meeting concluded with a 5-2 vote in favor of approving a conditional use permit that would allow the construction of the facility at 2608 Smyrna Road, Ozark, a 38-acre property. The project belongs to Synergy Recovery Center, owned by Paige Tuck and Anna Koetting, licensed professional counselors.
In 2015, the pair opened a women’s residential facility in Rogersville, despite opposition from the community, also according to archives. At the Dec. 2018 meeting, the two reported the facility had since been well-received, and that they wanted to build a drug rehab facility for men to meet another large need.
So far, many Ozark residents are unhappy. Karen Trimble, a local realtor who has clients residing near the proposed construction site, said many are concerned the facility will lead to an increase in homelessness.
“It’s a drug detox facility. It’s a 30- to 90-day facility. People need to understand that. There’s a big, huge difference there,” Trimble said. “When residents don’t comply with the procedures in these clinics, they kick them out with their suitcase in hand. They may not have anybody they can call. They’re on their own, walking down the street. It’s not in the county’s best interest.”
Trimble also cited traffic and flood issues as potential problems.
“When it floods, you cannot get a 911 vehicle on that road. You can’t cross Greenbridge [Road],” she said. “People in drug detox clinics have seizures, they see things, they hear things, they spaz out and they become volatile.”
Trimble expressed concern that, in a worst-case scenario, a resident of the facility could even drown due to flooding.
“I guarantee the county is going to get a lawsuit,” Trimble said. “They’re allowing this to happen in a space that’s an agricultural and residential community. There are no other commercial buildings.”
Presiding Commissioner Ray Weter said there was no reason not to vote in favor of the drug facility.
“As far as a conditional use permit, all requirements were met,” Weter told Headliner News following the meeting.
Douglas Haun & Heidemann PC partner Craig Heidemann and attorney Doug Brown were also present at the March 9 meeting to represent over 700 petitioners.
“Planning and development was created to protect and properly plan the community,” Trimble said. “This certainly isn’t over by any means.”