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Planning Commission Denies Rezoning For Methadone Clinic

The Cookeville Planning Commission denied a request Monday night to rezone a South Willow Avenue parcel for the purpose of creating a methadone clinic.

Fifteen different people spoke during the public comment discussion about the clinic, with twelve of them speaking against the clinic. Cedar Recovery wants to change a 0.86 parcel of land from Commercial-Industrial Mixed Use to Medical Services to allow for drug treatment using methadone. Community Development Director Jon Ward said the city has already designated the land for regional commercial use in the future.

“The MS zoning classification is primary, located in areas designated for public, semi-public, and institutional uses,” Ward said. “No MS (Medical Services) zones are located in areas designated for regional commercial use at this time.”

Cedar Recovery asked the commission to rezone the land at 1225 South Willow Avenue, south of Interstate 40. The organization already operates an office-based opioid treatment program in the facility. Chairman Jim Woodford said Cedar Recovery is able to look at other areas in the city that are already zoned for medical services to establish a methadone clinic.

“This is my opinion, not the whole commission, but it’s almost border-lining on spot-zoning, changing that building to the medical where it was commercial,” Woodford said.

Two of the three people who spoke in support of the clinic were employees of Cedar Recovery; Chief Medical Officer Stephen Loyd and Chief Strategy Officer Paul Trivette.

The planning commission tabled Cedar Recovery’s proposed amendment to the zoning code that would decrease restrictions on where a methadone clinic is allowed to exist within the city. Specifically, it would allow such clinics in a zone without special planning commission approval.

Woodford said the issue will go to the city council if Cedar Recovery chooses to appeal the planning commission’s decision.

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