LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - The operator of an illegal halfway house first exposed in a WAVE 3 News Troubleshooter investigation made his case to become legal with the zoning board Monday night.
The Gratitude House at 26th and Chestnut Streets was denied zoning status to continue operating as transitional housing. Sixteen men were living there, some were recovering from drug and alcohol addiction.
Metro Council President David James addressed board members at the meeting Monday.
“This house has been operating for two years illegally in a residence in a neighborhood where people are trying to live,” James said.
Many of the house’s loudest opponents said the WAVE 3 News report on the location was the foundation for their arguments.
Another high profile set of halfway houses run by the Kristy Love Foundation on Date Street, which opened its doors in the West End without a Conditional Use Permit, was also seeking approval years after it began operation.
One of the homes was denied zoning approval to keep operating as transitional house, another across the street will be heard later this month because the owner was not properly listed on paperwork.
Both drew complaints from people who said illegal halfway houses are plaguing their neighborhoods.
Neighbors allege police runs, drug issues, trash and prostitution are happening near the transitional housing units.
Those at the Kristy Love House said the services they provide are critical to woman suffering from substance abuse issues and fleeing violence and human trafficking.
A handful of women living in the house said it has turned their lives around.
The owner of the Gratitude House said the sober-living program he operates is structured, and his residents help the homeless weekly.
Metro Council members David James and Donna Purvis plead with board members to deny the request of both applicants to become legal transitional houses.
James asked board members how to enforce the shutdown of illegal half houses after they're denied zoning approval.
A staff attorney said that would typically require the order of a court, rather than the quasi-judicial Board of Zoning Appeals.