Phoenix House working with Northfield land use boards to try & get Arches building approved a rehab facility site

NORTHFIELD — Land use boards are considering a formal application from the Phoenix House to use the former Arches assisted living home as an in-house drug and alcohol rehabilitation facility.
According to draft minutes of the March 25 Zoning Board of Adjustment meeting, the Phoenix House, which is seeking a special exemption to be allowed to relocate from the former Webster Farm in Franklin, is seeking to operate a rehab in the home. Action was deferred in lieu of more information.
Phoenix House had said there will be only minor changes to the site and it would be for about 30 people who have already been through detoxification.
Paul Lavallee told the board his wife was trying to negotiate the sale of the former Arches to her in anticipation of leasing it to Phoenix House.
About three months ago, Lavallee and officials from Phoenix House approached Gilford land use boards about buying the closed Gunstock Inn for the same purpose. The inn owned, through foreclosure, by a New Hampshire bank.
In Gilford the proposed use was dual — partially for a rehab and partially for a fitness center. When it met to discuss the issue, the Gilford Planning Board had not received a formal application and the meeting was for informational purposes only.
The Northfield proposal was referred to the Tilton-Northfield Fire Department, which determined the place was not suited for medical detoxification because of a lack fire protection in the building. In turn, the fire department referred Phoenix House to the N.H. Department of Health and Human Services to see what would be an allowable use under their regulation for rehabilitation.
Members of the ZBA had a number of questions regarding supervision, security and employment.
Minutes indicate Lavallee told the board there would be cameras but the doors would be unlocked, that the facility does not currently take patients with mental health or anxiety conditions, and that the facility would be staffed by trained personnel round the clock.
Lavallee said the employees in Franklin would likely transfer to the new facility should it be allowed to open.
Town Administrator Glenn Smith said yesterday the Planning Board deferred action Monday night also in anticipation of more information and action by the ZBA.
Phoenix House Cornerstone also announced Monday that it had assumed the operations of the former Newfound Recovery Residences that operates transitional housing for those in drug or alcohol recovery at 23 Elm Street. The only change, said the media release, will be housing for 12 men as opposed to 12 women.