How can someone run a business in a residentially zoned area?
The answer to this question is a difficult one. As we understand it, there are different preemptions afforded to certain types of group housing situations by the state and federal governments. Sober Living Homes (or SLH) are currently covered under the moratorium. These homes must adhere to moratorium-related regulations (for more information about this email the city code compliance supervisor). State licensed facilities (including detox houses, Intensive Outpatient Programs, rehab facilities, etc.) are afforded the protections from California Health and Safety Code 11834 and do not fall under the city moratorium. California Health and Safety Code requires local governments to treat these homes just like any other single family dwellings. Because of this our local code enforcement cannot impose additional restrictions on the home that would not be imposed on any other single family home. However, while they may be protected from city zoning and business license codes these houses, their operators, residents and owners still have to abide by city nuisance laws. If they are creating a nuisance please do not hesitate to report it to the City.
What sort of behavior or observations should I report to the city?
We recommend that you report anything out of the ordinary (via email) to the city. If you see something that would require immediate sheriff or fire authority attention, please dial 911. Please make sure that any 911 calls are actual emergencies—many of these homes already monopolize the resources of our emergency first-responders. If you are going to report illegal behavior that is not an emergency, please be sure to use the non-emergency Orange County Sheriff phone number
(949) 770-6011 and follow up with an email to City Code Enforcement. For a list of suggested code violations click here.
How can I organize members of my community to get our city to take action like San Clemente did?
Our success is not due to any magic formula. We were fortunate enough to have a group of concerned citizens who were fed up with complacency ban together dedicated to making a difference. We cannot discount the fact that our city was willing to listen to it's citizens and take immediate action. Our group utilized social media, local news outlets, built a website, handed out fliers, stood on street corners with signs, met with city officials, were diligent (and patient at the same time), and most of all—pledged to find a solution that benefited both neighborhoods and people seeking treatment. If you have questions about how to organize or what worked and what didn't, please email us.
Is your group opposed to addiction treatment?
Absolutely not. Our group was formed out of frustration due to lack of regulation and the drastic impact the proliferation of unlicensed, unregulated group homes were having on our neighborhoods. Recovery is incredibly important. Drug-related deaths are up 300% in the past 25 years. San Clemente is fighting a very real battle with Heroin. Something needs to be done! The reality is that anyone can open up a Sober Living Home (in your neighborhood) and charge whatever they want. But, there are no regulations. We have been told by people who have lived in these facilities that many are unsupervised, drugs are readily available and it would seem that the operators have put their own profits ahead of the needs of their patients. For more information about the need for Education, Science and Regulations go to www.TheBusinessofRecovery.com and watch the trailer.
What happened to your petition on Change.org?
The petition we created using Change.org is still live and you can sign it here. We have chosen to not push the signing of the petition at this point, because it would appear that our city is in the process of discernment and evaluating the best way to regulation these types of homes (which is what we were asking for). Our current focus is on making sure that the group homes that are in our neighborhoods are being held accountable to current nuisance ordinances. To see a list of suggested nuisance violations, click here.
How did you build your website and manage your social media?
We worked with a company called Spot 49, inc.