Questions raised about proposed rehab facility

Resident Mark Guerna, inset right, said there is no clear definition on what a proposed rehab facility will actually be used for during Monday's Safford Planning and Zoning Commission meeting. - Contributed Photo

SAFFORD — The Safford Planning and Zoning Commission is recommending denial of a conditional use permit that would allow for development of a shelter facility.

The commission voted 3-1 to recommend denial to the City Council, which will take final action on the conditional use permit request.

The permit is requested by James Demasi, to develop a facility in a former hotel located at 110 W. 5th St.

While most agreed a rehabilitation facility of some sort is needed in Graham County, public comment during Monday’s Planning and Zoning Commission meeting was uniformly opposed to establishment of a facility at that location. There was also confusion about the facility’s intended purpose.

“They said . . . it was an alcoholic rehabilitation center. Then it went to a substance abuse center. Then it went to a homeless shelter for women. And — I’m quoting; I didn’t make this up because we wrote a letter to the city right after this because we were concerned — a homeless shelter for women with children,” said resident Mark Guerna.

Commissioner Lee Patterson said the broad uses allowed under the zoning code for shelters made him uncomfortable recommending approval, especially given the uncertainty over the applicant’s plan.

“I’m not confident any of them are decided on yet,” Patterson said.

The City Council will be asked to take final action on the request at an upcoming regular meeting.