Scottsdale Considers Group Home Regulations

Published: Tuesday, December 5, 2017 - 5:00am
Updated: Tuesday, December 5, 2017 - 5:05am

The Scottsdale City Council will consider several new regulations Tuesday for residential homes that provide services for the elderly and people recovering from addiction.

Scottsdale, like many cities in the country, has seen an uptick in addiction recovery homes in residential neighborhoods. City staff reported there are 109 care homes in Scottsdale at a Planning Commission Meeting in October.

One of the most common requests from Scottsdale residents was to distinguish how the city regulates care homes for the elderly and people with drug or alcohol addiction.

Scottsdale’s director of planning and development services Randy Grant says federal law prohibits housing discrimination for people with disabilities. That includes the elderly and people addicted to drugs or alcohol.

“You either restrict both of them, or you relax the restrictions on both of them, but you can’t relax on one and become more stringent on the other,” Grant said.

Scottsdale City council will consider a 1,200-foot separation requirement between care homes, mandatory Fire Department safety inspections and a requirement for state licensing where applicable. People with a disability may apply for an accommodation from these regulations.

The Arizona Department of Health Services licenses residential facilities such as adult health day cares, assisted-living homes and other institutions that provide medical care. There is no specific state license for sober living homes.

“We’re relying on the state to identify who’s gonna be operating a home but then, we’re gonna have, it’s more registration than a licensing,” Grant said.

These regulations don’t do enough, according to some residents and one planning commissioner.

“You’re abdicating your responsibilities,” said Judy Pollick during the October Planning Commission meeting.  “You would not be protecting the residents of the sober living homes or the neighboring communities.”

Christian Serena was the only dissenting vote on Planning Commission.

“I just think that we’re going to pushing something through that is going to take a lot of effort to unwind if there is the ability to create stronger language,” Serena said.

RELATED: Sober-Living Home Owners To Phoenix: Don’t Overregulate Us

The city of Phoenix is also considering group home regulations.

Phoenix’s proposals are more stringent than Scottsdale’s and could change zoning rules and require licensing.

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