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Community residences for people with disabilities:
Group Homes, Recovery Communities, Small Halfway Houses — and Fair Housing

Working with both cities and providers, we are nationally known for our pioneering work starting way
back in 1974 to bring rationality to zoning for “community residences” for people with disabilities:

  Legal representation for Group Home Operators: 
  Understand the zoning requirements before you buy or apply for zoning approval

Many proposed community residences run into difficulty with local zoning because:

We have over 35 years experience winning zoning approval across the nation for community residences (group homes, halfway houses, and recovery communities) for people with disabilities. We have often convinced local officials to allow a community residence as a permited use allowed as of right rather than require a special use permit and the requisite public hearing. We have helped operators of proposed community residences nurture the neighbors to prevent neighborhood opposition and win support from neighbors.

We are well–versed in how the Fair Housing Amendments Act of 1988 banned the use of restrictive covenants on private property to exclude community residences for people with disabilities and have successfully convinced homeowners associations to allow these homes.

We have also served as an expert witness before zoning boards and in both federal and state court in significant group home cases.

We have written the model zoning for community residences for the American Bar Association and the American Planning Association.

 About Us:  Click here for our attorney and professional planner Daniel Lauber’s experience with zoning for group homes and other community residences. Click here for his full resume.

Click here for our city planning and law website.

 

  Amend Your Local or State Zoning for Community Residences
  To Comply With the Nation’s Fair Housing Act

Comply with the Fair Housing Act and avoid costly litigation by replacing illegal excessive regulations on community residences for people with disabilities with rationally–based zoning provisions. We have helped scores of communities write zoning amendments for community residences that provide the maximum rational and legal regulation permissible under the Fair Housing Amendments Act of 1988. We have not heard of any court decision invalidating any of the zoning regulations we have written for community residences. As part of our services we conduct a thorough study that provides the rational basis for the zoning amendments we write. This study is an essential component for surviving a court challenge. Courts often invalidate zoning requirements for a spacing distance between community residences as well licensing requirements because the jurisdiction fails to demonstrate a need for either requirement. Our studies document that need.

Daniel Lauber was simply outstanding in assisting Clark County, Nevada in drafting a revised community residence ordinance.  We relied heavily on Daniel’s expertise of federal fair housing law and on his experience in tactfully addressing questions and concerns of elected officials and stakeholders.  His work was first rate and he was a pleasure to work with.”
— Rob Warhola, Assistant States Attorney, Clark County, Nevada

We have conducted workshops, seminars, and national conference sessions on zoning for community residences from Alaska to New York, even educating representatives from the attorneys general offices from all 50 states.

We have written the model zoning for community residences for the American Bar Association and the American Planning Association.

 About Us:  Click here for our attorney/planner Daniel Lauber’s experience with zoning for group homes and other community residences. Click here for his full resume.

Click here for Planning/Communications website with all the services we provide — plus loads of free resources you can download.

 

 How Zoning Can Legally Regulate Community Residences for People With Disabilities

While far too many cities and counties try to impose excessive regulations on community residences that fly in the face of the nation’s Fair Housing Act, far too many fair housing advocates insist that jurisdictions cannot regulate community residences at all. All too often jurisdictions allow community residences for some disabled populations, but not for others. But no jurisdiction can pick and choose which disabled populations are allowed and which are not.

Law review article cover

The proper and legal zoning for community residences lies somewhere in the middle. To understand the rationale for zoning regulations for community residences as well as the limits of how far a city can go in regulating community residences for people with disabilities, download one of the most thorough and insightful law review articles that spells out the basis for rational zoning restrictions on community residences for people with disabilities:
A Real LULU: Zoning for Group Homes and Halfway Houses Under the Fair Housing Amendments Act of 1988, in The John Marshall Law Review, Winter 1996, pp. 369–407.

 

Get the two–page summary: Click here to see a two–page summary of the maximum restrictions a city can legally impose on community residences for people with disabilities.

Three Decades On Article

See the most recent article on zoning for community residences published in the November 2015 issue of Planning magazine by clicking here.

 Expert testimony on amending zoning provisions for community residences for
 people with disabilities to comply with the Fair Housing Act
.

Boulder City Group Home Workshop

 

Click here to view the 75–minute expert testimony we presented to the Plan Commission and City Council
of Boulder City, Nevada, on revisions to its zoning code for community residences for people with disabilities.
The testimony — presented in a workshop manner — covers just about everything you need to know in order
to write zoning provisions for community residences that comply with the nation’s Fair Housing Act. The testimony,

presented on Sept. 10, 2010, will open in a new tab or window on Boulder City's website.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Get the facts: Studies on the Impacts of Community Residences

We have conducted scientific research to determine whether or not community residences have any effect on property values — and have put together a short annotated bibliography of other reliable, scientific studies as well which you can download or view by clicking here. No matter which research technique they use, the studies have found that community residences that are licensed and not clustered on a block have absolutely no impact on property values, neighborhood safety, or community character.

cover illinois group home impact studyDownload a key scientific Illinois
study on the impact of
group homes on property values,
property turnover, and
neighborhood safety. Includes
annotated bibliography of other studies.

 

By contacting this website you are not creating an attorney–client relationship. Such a relationship would only come into being upon signing a written fee and retention agreement. Moreover, no communication on this website should be considered privileged under the attorney–client privilege. Please be advised that there is no expectation of confidentiality regarding any communication you may send us in response to this website.