Shawnee will allow mental wellness center to operate in old Deffenbaugh mansion

Deffenbaugh mansion

Shawnee will allow a mental health and wellness center to operate in the former Deffenbaugh mansion near Johnson Drive and Ogg Road, pictured above, though the project leaders now say they will not allow patients seeking treatment for substance abuse, as was previously proposed. Photo via Johnson County Appraiser's Office.

After nearly two hours of discussion and hearing from opposing sides, the Shawnee City Council on Monday night advanced plans for a mental health and wellness facility to open in the old Deffenbaugh mansion.

What’s the plan: Shawnee couple Brad and Ann Botteron hope to establish Summit Ranch Center for Wellness, a mental health treatment center inside the former Deffenbaugh mansion in a mostly residential area of large-tract homes in western Shawnee.

Ascension Recovery Services, a West Virginia-based company that manages substance abuse treatment programs nationwide, is slated to manage the facility.

A big change: In response to concerns from neighboring homeowners who have largely opposed the initiative, the Botterons now say they will prohibit patients of substance abuse from receiving treatment at the facility.

The mental health and wellness center would instead focus solely on serving patients with other mental health challenges.

The project has been delayed for months while the Botterons and neighboring property owners worked through concerns.

Where exactly: Located at 18555 Johnson Drive, just west of Ogg Road in western Shawnee, the mansion was built by the late Ron Deffenbaugh, who established the Johnson County landfill nearby. The mansion has been vacant for years.

Neighboring homeowners have been voicing opposition to the initiative for months out of concern that a rezoning item tied to the project — from agricultural to professional office — could negatively impact their property values or create crime-related problems for their neighborhood.

Ann Botteron

The Shawnee City Council voted 7-1 to approve rezoning 50 of the 105 acres from agricultural to professional office.

Councilmember Tony Gillette cast the dissenting vote, citing similar concerns as those of the neighbors.

Summit Ranch’s plans: Located on a wooded 105-acre property, Summit Ranch says it plans to offer a holistic approach to mental wellness therapy, including:

  • promotions of healthy diet and exercise,
  • a fitness and sports center
  • and hiking, biking and gardening.

Key quote from Summit Ranch: “We truly believe that this is a jewel of Shawnee. We don’t want to change anything about it as far as what people see from Johnson Drive or see from the neighborhoods around it. The people who come here are people who are just searching for peace and healing, and we believe that this will be a perfect place for that.” – Ann Botteron

Key quote from opponents: “My clients are not opposed to development or growth. They want to keep their community of what Shawnee is and how Shawnee has been defined and known for all these years with growth and development that is appropriate.” – Michelle Burns, attorney at Property Law Firm representing some neighboring homeowners

Key quote from city leadership: “I’ve met with several of you in the past over this particular issue, and I have a lot of respect for you. Good people, really good people. But I really can’t see where this is going to be that big of a problem. I kind of don’t see it being a real problem at all. So I have to support a project like this.” – Councilmember Eric Jenkins, addressing neighboring homeowners

Next steps: The Botterons can now submit construction permits if needed to convert the house into an office space.

A recording of the meeting is on the city’s website. Discussion begins at 30:07.