Florida Mansion Turned Halfway House Causes Stir

PHOTO: The TLC rehab facility opening in a vacant mansion in Deerfield Beach, FL. is shown.
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An expansive waterfront property in an upscale Florida neighborhood is being turned into a halfway house for people coming out of drug and alcohol treatment, but not everyone in the area on-board with the development.

The luxury facility is being run by a new company called TLC Recovery.

The 7,000-foot property, in The Cove neighborhood of Deerfield Beach, Fla., boasts a home theater, a full-time professional chef in a professional kitchen, beautiful views, a private pool and staff present 24/7, according to the website.

A photo gallery on the site also showcases the newly renovated property's private patient bedrooms with ocean views and four-post beds. A grand entry with a sky-high ceiling leads to a spiral staircase and floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the water. A grand piano in a sitting room overlooks a sprawling patio with a pool and jacuzzi hanging over the sea.

Nearby homes are listed for sale at over $2 million.

"After the initial phase of a drug and alcohol rehab many people wonder what the next step is. This is where we would like to assist," the TLC Recovery website says. "In our house our residents not only enjoy the comforts of South Florida living, but we have designed a regimented program in the house to begin to break the habits that were learned from years of drug and alcohol abuse."

Photo Credit: TLC Recovery

Rami Altherr-Musto, the city spokeswoman for Deerfield Beach, told ABCNews.com that the city was made aware of the project by neighbors who have taken issue with having a business in a residential area.

"We've heard from residents and we know there's a facility that exists, but the city hasn't received an application for this party yet," Altherr-Musto said. "This is the first item of this nature that we've encountered."

The city has retained special counsel to help with the matter, but will not be taking any action until an occupational license required of all businesses is filed.

One of TLC Recovery's board members Allie Natkin said he could not speak about the project, but told ABCNews.com, "Keep in mind we're helping people."

TLC Recovery's attorney James Green did not respond to several requests for comment from ABCNews.com.

The website says the minimum commitment to the facility is 90 days, but does not say how much the stay costs.

Photo Credit: TLC Recovery

Andrew, a Deerfield Beach resident, said he had not heard about the facility until he read about it in his local paper and he was not pleased.

"It's a residential neighborhood," Andrew said. "It's supposed to be for residents, not for running a business. It does bother me."

Another neighbor, who asked that her name not be used, said she had no problem with the project.

"We live on the water. It doesn't bother me at all," she said. "I don't consider that a business. I consider that as a way of saving lives."

Similar battles have recently been fought in other Florida communities. Delray Beach is currently being sued for refusing to allow a sober house in a $3 million residential property, according to the Sun-Sentinel. And several years ago, Boca Raton fought to limit the locations of the facilities and lost, the paper said.

TLC Recovery's Natkin said the facility will "hopefully" be open at the end of the month.

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