Haven House may be prohibited from opening

The City and Borough of Juneau says a transitional living facility for former female inmates may not operate in its planned location.

CBJ officials reviewed the business plan for Haven House while considering a building permit for the proposed facility on Malissa Drive in the Mendenhall Valley.

Community Development Director Hal Hart said zoning for that neighborhood allows for group homes that include health care or rehabilitation from a physical, mental, or emotional disability, but halfway houses are not allowed. Hart said the proposed Haven House fits in more with the CBJ’s definition of a halfway house.

“The community needs these facilities. It’s just the location under code, and there are other locations that code allows for,” said Hart.

The staffed-facility is expected to provide a safe environment for as many as nine women after their parole or release from prison. A private home on Malissa Drive was purchased earlier this month and the facility’s opening was planned for the middle of March.

Hart sent a letter to the Haven House board last Friday explaining why they cannot operate their facility in their currently proposed location. He said the Planning Commission will likely take up an expected appeal of his zoning determination, but it’s still unclear exactly when they will consider the issue.

Haven House boardmembers have declined to return repeated calls from KTOO seeking comment.

 

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