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Residents outraged over opening of a nearby "transitional home"

By Jonathan Radford, jradford@wcyb.com
Published On: Nov 25 2013 09:12:12 PM CST
BRANCH HOUSE
BLOUNTVILLE, Tenn. -

"I want it taken out because we don't need it, it needs to be put somewhere else,” said Joyce Moore, a concerned neighbor.

Joyce Moore is talking about the Branch House that moved-in in August on Foothill Drive in her Lone Oaks Estate neighborhood.

"It doesn't need to be in a subdivision, it doesn't need to be near daycares and it doesn't need to be [near] schools,” said Moore.

Moore and about 50 other people brought their questions and concerns to this meeting Monday night at the Blountville Elementary and Middle School.
Craig Adams started a petition to relocate the house and planned the meeting with the house's operator Roger Morrell in hopes of getting answers.

"It went in so secretively, nobody knew what it was going to be. We've been told several different things, that they would be coming out of the Sullivan County jail over there it wouldn't be people coming out of the Sullivan County jail,” said Craig Adams.
Morrell tells News 5, three men live in the home and two of them have a criminal history, but he added all of the residents go through a thorough background check before they are admitted.

And he says they pose no threat to the neighborhood which he also calls home.

"There free now, they are learning to be free in Christ. We don't allow anybody there who has had anybody who is a pedophile or who has any sexual history like that, severe anger issues, I would do nothing to put my family in danger,” said Roger Morrell.

Sullivan County Director of Planning and Zoning Ambre Torbett tells News 5 that house was originally zoned for manufacturing and the county rezoned the area for commercial use or B3 zoning this spring.

Torbett adds during that time members of the community didn't speak up.

But she tells News 5, the county can't pick and choose which organizations will allow if they abide within their particular zoning regulations.

"For purposes of group homes, apartments, general retail, office, all of the above, religious, they are all permitted,” said Torbett.

So far, more than 200 people have signed the petition.

Craig Adams tells News 5, he now plans to take the petition to the mayor and the county zoning board.