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As soon as next fall, a new assisted living care facility could be open for business in Havre. During a meeting Thursday evening, Havre's Zoning Board of Adjustments voted 4-0, with one member absent, to extend a zoning variance currently used at the Cleveland Avenue business. All the specifications were met by the building's preliminary plans. Originally, property owner April Custer had requested that the zoning be changed from one-family residential to general residential at the Cleveland Avenue property. The board denied the request because it would have been considered spot zoning, which is illegal, Deputy Director of Public Works Jeff Jensen said in December. "It's a nice area because it's close to the hospital; it's close to the clinics," Custer said. The project's proposal faced some opposition when initially discussed, but Custer's daughter said that neighbors were notified and seemed to be in support after hearing more about what the facility would be like. Some were worried that the building could be turned into apartments at a later date. But the variance will cease to apply if the property is sold or its purpose changed. A converted church is used by Custer for assisted care services at 1204 Cleveland Ave. Four beds are at the facility for elderly residents who need extra help with daily living activities, such as bathing. The new structure will expand the services already offered by 12 to 16 beds. Custer told board members that the final number depends on how many will be necessary to offset the cost of building the facility. Little traffic from residents will exist since most will be elderly and won't drive regularly, she said. "It's a real big need. We need it in Havre," she said. After the meeting, Custer said she hopes to have the structure completed by this fall, but by next fall at the latest.


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