Controversial House Has Clovis Residents Worried

September 3, 2008 8:09:42 AM PDT
Clovis residents packed the City Council meeting last night to protest what they see as a plan to put a home for recovering addicts in their neighborhood.After seeing a variety of people come and go from the house at all hours, and hearing the sounds of construction going on inside, they became curious. Then one neighbor discovered the house was being advertised on the internet classified service "Craig's List" as a "Sober living house." The ad noted the house was close to courts and probation offices. It added the owners were "in the business of helping people."

Mary Costa lives directly across the street from the home. She say's she became very worried about who would be living in the house. "Safety. We were concerned about our safety of our neighborhood. Not knowing, the unknown is always scary." She told us.

Costa isn't the only one with fears about what the residents of this house will do to their neighborhood. They packed the Clovis City Council meeting Tuesday night. Mayor Bob Whalen asked all those concerned about this house to raise their hands. Nearly every person in the audience responded with a show of hands. Several spoke out Neighbor Clay Rodgers told the council: "This is a commercial enterprise where he's renting out the rooms of his house. This cannot be compatible with a single family residential use."

Rodgers and others complained the owner of the six bedroom house started adding more bedrooms and converting the garage, to accommodate more people. Terry Gravely was among those who asked the city to impose some control. She said: "It must be regulated in some way if it's going to be a residential group home."

But a relative of the owner who lives in the house says it's not going to be a group home or a sober living house. He says it's just a place for college students to live. He says those internet ads were all a mistake.

Drew Pfeiffer told the council: "The gentleman who owns the house, Rick Pfeiffer he does run a sober living house down in Santa Ana, California and an ad was run by one of his assistants who helps him run a house down there and there was a miscommunication he was informed that Rick was also wanting to turn this into a sober living house. That is not the case."

But neighbors did some research and claim the house in Santa Ana was converted to a sober living house, packing three people to a bedroom. They fear the same thing will happen here. They received assurances from the City Manager and City Attorney that an investigation is underway.

After the meeting Mary Costa said," I feel confidence the City Council will do something. I feel confidence that they care about their community. That's why we all chose to live in Clovis."

Under current zoning the house can house up to six unrelated residents.

The council directed the city attorney to investigate current regulations, and will consider imposing new rules on recovery homes at a future meeting.

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