UPDATE: Committee Delays Decision on Group Homes

After huge outpouring of public testimony, committee decides to meet Tuesday for vote.

The city's Planning and Land Use Management (PLUM) Committee Tuesday delayed a decision on regulation of so-called sober-living homes after hearing comments on the measure from 52 people. Councilman Ed Reyes decided to recess the hearing until next Tuesday.

The committee room was standing-room only with at least 180 people in attendance.  The PLUM committee took public testimony about group homes in residential neighborhoods. Officials indicated that they needed more time to review the issues.

The committee is considering the Community Care Facilities Ordinance, proposed by Councilman Greig Smith who represents Chatsworth. It would control sober-living homes that neighbors have called a nuisance in residential areas, as well as  establish rules for boarding houses.

Tom Rothmann, city planner for code studies in the city office of zoning administration, said the proposed ordinance generated far more comment than is typical in such cases. "There's a lot of passion on both sides of the issue," he said. "This really does affect a lot of people and there are people with valid points on both sides."

When the PLUM committee resumes, Rothmann will provide the three council members that comprise the committee with answers to several questions raised during the public testimony. These include questions related to state mental health laws that might be in conflict, services provided in sober-living homes, the impact of the proposed law on student housing needs and whether the current nuisance abatement procedures are adequate, Rothmann said.

The city official estimated that about 60 percent of the speakers favored the proposed ordinance and 40 percent opposed it. He said that was comparable to the public testimony provided when the measure was before the planning commission earlier this year.

If the measure is approved by the committee, it will move to the full council. Rothmann said that, because it has already been vetted by the city attorney, it could come before the council relatively quickly, perhaps in a month.

Even council approval won't be the last stop, though. Some of those who spoke against it promised the measure would be challenged in court.

Both Smith and Councilman-elect Mitch Englander said in an email to Chatsworth Patch:

"The ordinance is meant to address the numerous unlicensed, illegal and nuisance group homes that have proliferated in quiet residential neighborhoods and have made life a living hell for their neighbors. We don't know even how many are there because they are not listed or registered anywhere.

"We are not acting out of fear of what might happen. It is in response to what has already been happening."

For more information, here's the exclusive Patch.com series:

'It was like they had more rights than the people who lived here and paid property taxes,' neighbor says.

Sober-living homes exist in residential areas all over Los Angeles, causing friction between neighbors and the homes' operators and residents.

A proposed law to regulate unlicensed homes in L.A. has both sides marshaling their forces.

Ordinance that would apply city regulations to group homes of recovering addicts will now be considered by a City Council committee after Planning Commission vote falls short of recommendation.

Saul Daniels contributed to this report.

Dan L. Huffman March 30, 2011 at 09:51 PM
Phil....How do I communicate with you privately ? Maybe communicate your e-address directly thru the Editor ? They know me. Think about it, as this site is monitered by these sham operators, not that they personally worry me, but lots of folks like their privacy and they are reading this. Great job on info Grace !
R. Grace Rodriguez, Esq. March 30, 2011 at 10:11 PM
I believe in full compliance with all of the laws. If you are creating a nuisance it doesn't matter how many people live in your house, it should not happen. If you got 10 people living in a house, then its their responsibility to make sure that they don't disturb the neighborhood. So start with enforcement of the rules we have is all I'm saying. Personally with all the commercial space available why not have some non-profits set up facilities to care for more of these people on an independent living basis. I always wondered why that couldn't be done.
Phil Indeblanc March 30, 2011 at 10:30 PM
Yes, its an illegal one, and it will be obvious that one of the proximity neighbors reported. Its not likely that the people will move out as they can rent another room in that house. The last thing any family wants to do is force a "shady"(less aggressive term as I don't have proof of gangster activity) renter out. They should get the city busy and start doing random inspections on properties that have been reported in some capacity. It will help the economy with permits being pulled and contractors working, materials selling...And all for proper reasons. Isn't this why I paided $$$ for inspection to come out when I did the remode?...l to do the job right?...Or should have I hired unlicensed workers and not filed for permits ? Maybe that Simpson tie wasn't really that big a need for my glue laminate beams to hold the house up? I'm sure it'd be sold and someone else headache when the next "big one" hit. I did things as anyone who makes an honest living and takes some pride in being a home owner. But I sure as heck didn't know life would be hell after moving in and realizing that want happens in this single family dwelling residence is anything but family oriented.... Saul has my info.
Fiona Sophy April 30, 2011 at 08:05 PM
Dear Phil, I would love to send you a private message if possible? I have been threatened for posting my opposition to sober living homes. Should I post openly, and use my real name, I will no doubt be harassed again. I have men driving by my house slowly- looking at me... I don't let my pets outside (unattended) in fear of being poisoned- my car is parked under a camera and there are 2 other cameras on the remainder of my property - since I feel unsafe by certain people! If I post too much information, these people will know exactly who I am. Thanks, (Concerned Homeowner)
Phil Indeblanc April 30, 2011 at 10:31 PM
Hi Fiona, As in the above thread, I would contact the editor to get info to the proper people. There are those in this thread that can be helpful, you might want to start there for guidance. Not sure what info you'd like to send me? It's sad that there are so many just in this area that have such a problem.


More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something
See more »