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Addiction ministry seeks OK to use $1M home as treatment facility

Home on Fork Creek Road in Saluda is listed for sale for $1.3 million. Home on Fork Creek Road in Saluda is listed for sale for $1.3 million.

SALUDA — A church-based organization that treats people suffering from opioid addiction is seeking approval from Henderson County to convert a $1 million home in rural Saluda into a residential treatment facility.

Craig Halford, president and founder of First Contact Ministries, filed an application on Aug. 31 with the Zoning Board of Adjustment seeking a special-use permit to use the 5,200-square-foot home as an assisted living residence. The four-bedroom, five-bath home on 34 acres at 4353 Fork Creek Road is valued at $928,800 for tax purposes and currently listed for sale for $1.3 million. The home, owned by Linda M. Neufield of Fayetteville, Pennsylvania, has a pending offer for purchase of $1.3 million, according to

The special-use permit application identified the plan preparer as David Hill, a land surveyor who is also a Henderson County commissioner. In the application, Halford indicated that the home is so isolated that its use for addiction treatment programs would be unnoticed  by neighhors and would cause no disruption or traffic issues. The home is on the backside of a 34-acre tract, bordered on the rear by the Greenville watershed, and at the end of a quarter-mile driveway up a mountain, the application said. There are only three conventional houses and one mobile home on Fork Creek Road.

"Residents will be transported by the ministry from the ministry office in Hendersonville so traffic will not be affected," Halford said in response to the permit application's requirement that the use "be in harmony with the surrounding area." "There will be no activities that will affect the harmony of the neighborhood. Residents will be there voluntarily and should someone decide to leave we will transport them off the property."

One neighboring homeowner said in a message to the Lightning that First Contact "wants to turn a million dollar home into a drug rehab facility across the street from Orchard Lake campground and in the middle of a residential area," adding that "it's duplicitous to call a drug rehab facility an assisted living facility."

First Contact Ministries has been trying for several years to build a treatment facility or find a home for one. The nonprofit organization, which gets support from Mud Creek Baptist Church and other churches, tried unsuccessfully in October 2018 to get a special-use permit to build a 42-bed residential treatment facility across Erkwood Road from the church. After three nights of hearings, the county Zoning Board of Adjustment voted unanimously to deny the permit.

The zoning board will hear the Fork Creek Road request at 4 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 28, at 100 N. King St.