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Phoenix Hires Consultant To Help Craft Group Home Regulations
Phoenix will hire a consultant to help the city craft a new ordinance to regulate group homes. The move comes after residents pushed leaders to do more to prevent clustering in neighborhoods.
Some group home operators spoke out against new regulations during Wednesday’s council meeting expressing fear that they would be forced out of business.
Councilwoman Deb Stark said that’s not the goal, “We’re trying to protect residents of these neighborhoods and residents of these group homes."
Unlike assisted living and other group homes, sober living homes are not regulated by the state and homes with five people or less are not required to register with the city.
Drug and alcohol addictions are considered disabilities and when Phoenix faced the threat of a lawsuit over violating federal fair housing laws it stopped restricting how far apart they had to be. That’s when some neighborhoods started feeling overrun with some less than professional operations.
Wally Graham told the council his coalition of neighborhood groups has invested nearly 3,000 hours researching the issue and advocating for change.
“We’re not for adding burdensome regulations,” he said. “We are for registration and for health and safety regulations that provide a service for vulnerable populations in our community.”
On Wednesday, the council approved changes to make sure Phoenix complies with fair housing laws while enforcing a one quarter mile limit between homes.
The council also approved a one-year consulting contract worth up to $48,400 with the Law Office of Daniel Lauber. Next month, the consultant will start meeting with group home operators, residents and other stakeholders to revamp the ordinance.