MODESTO -- Officials with a Modesto drug and alcohol recovery home for women that wants to move to a bigger facility will try tonight to calm the concerns of its potential new neighbors, who have said the center will hurt property values and be a magnet for crime and drugs.
Nirvana Women of Hope has operated a 12-bed inpatient treatment center for eight years out of two small houses that sit on the same lot on Alice Street, near College Avenue. Nirvana wants to operate a 19-bed center out of a two-story, six-bedroom house in the 800 block of Maze Boulevard, across the street from Franklin Elementary School in west Modesto.
But at a Nov. 15 hearing before the city's Board of Zoning Adjustment, more than a dozen neighbors of the Maze home spoke against the project. Nirvana officials appeared before the zoning board because they need a conditional use permit to operate the bigger facility.
The matter was postponed to the board's Dec. 20 meeting, and Nirvana agreed to hold tonight's meeting, at which agency officials will answer questions from the public. City staff will be on hand.
The meeting will be an opportunity to clear up any misconceptions neighbors have, said Dane Helding, executive director of Nirvana Drug and Alcohol Treatment Institute, which also operates two residential inpatient treatment centers for men, and outpatient programs.
For instance, unlike sober living halfway houses, Helding said, Women of Hope is licensed by the California Department of Alcohol and Drug Programs. A department spokeswoman has said there are no open or closed complaints against the treatment center.
The women typically stay at Women of Hope for 60 days. Their days are defined by structure and routine: group therapy sessions, chores, and being driven to and from 12-step recovery meetings. They are regularly tested for drugs and alcohol. Nirvana removes women who test positive.
Helding said Women of Hope is the sole licensed, women-only residential treatment center in the Northern San Joaquin Valley.
A city report states that Nirvana's request to operate at the Maze home is consistent with zoning for that area and with Modesto's general plan. But in deciding whether to issue the permit at their Dec. 20 meeting, zoning board members will have to weigh such factors as whether allowing Nirvana to operate would be detrimental to its new neighbors.
Tonight's meeting will be at 7 in the basement chamber of Tenth Street Place, 1010 10th St., Modesto.
Bee staff writer Kevin Valine can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (209) 578-2316.