Jeremy D. Wells
Carter County Times
Grayson city council opened their special session on Monday night by recognizing the contributions of two of the city’s citizens.
Camila Haney was recognized with the key to the city for her years of work at First National Bank and involvement in other community groups. Haney, who recently retired from First National Bank with 48 years of service, is also an active member of the Carter County Poetry Society. Her work with that group has helped promote and introduce the art of the written and spoken word to young and older writers and readers alike.
Haney is also an enthusiastic supporter of the responsible enjoyment and stewardship of eastern Kentucky’s wild spaces. She has most recently helped promote enjoyment of the outdoors through her hiking group, CAMIL Adventures. In addition to enjoying outdoor areas together the group has raised funds for regional outdoor recreation areas like the Laurel Gorge in neighboring Elliott County.
Council also took time to recognize late newsman Jim Phillips. Phillips, whose local journalism career spanned 7 decades at the Grayson Journal-Enquirer newspaper and WGOH Radio. Mayor George Steele asked council to consider renaming the conference room where council and other government entities meet to the Jim Phillips Conference Room in honor of Phillips’ contributions to local news.
Council voted unanimously to approve the naming. Steele said once the city has lettering placed to acknowledge the change he would like to have an official ceremony with Phillips’ family invited to attend.
In other action council heard from residents along Cardinal Drive who said they are concerned that work on a long vacant home in their neighbor is being done to transform the dwelling into a residential drug treatment center or a halfway house. An unidentified resident along the street said she was told by a contractor working on the property that it would be a halfway house, but that neighbors have been unable to verify what type of home it will be exactly.
Residential treatment centers are places where addicts live under observation while receiving treatment for drug addiction. Residents are sometimes, but not always, ordered into treatment by a judge.
Halfway houses are homes for people who are just leaving incarceration. The halfway house provides them a place to live while they establish their parole routines, find work, and adjust to life outside of prison.
City attorney Jason Greer said these are each “distinct” uses which may or may not be prevented by zoning regulations within the neighborhood.
Greer and code enforcement officer Duane Suttles were tasked by Mayor Steele with looking into the issue. Steele wanted the city attorney and code enforcement to see if there is any legal recourse, such as improper use of property as a business in a residential zoned area.
Steele asked Greer to locate and reach out to the property owners of behalf of the city to let them know that, “locally, there are issues that have to be resolved before anybody can move in.” And, Steele said, if they are unable to resolve those issues the city, “may need to look at other action.”
“I’m opposed to putting this into a residential neighborhood,” Steele told the neighbors who brought it to council’s attention, adding that neither the city nor the property owners “want property to devalue” as a result of such a project opening.
In other action council moved to appoint Troy Combs as acting mayor to run the meeting for the remainder of time after Mayor Steele needed to excuse himself. Combs led council through the rest of the agenda items, including accepting department reports and approving a motion to clean up a mess related to destroyed trailers and to place a lien on the property for the cost of the cleanup.
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