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Regulations for Structured Sober Living Homes Up for Discussion
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13 July 2016   Lynne LaMaster

The effort by the City of Prescott to increase regulations on Sober Living Homes is underway. But, what is being required and what under consideration?

Last Friday, the City of Prescott sent out packets to the known Sober Living homes (aka: Congregate Living, Community Residence or Recovery Home) in the city to be filled out and returned to the City. These pertain to new Building and Fire Codes that the Council adopted, which include a requirement that residences have a “maximum safe occupancy based upon the number and size of sleeping rooms.”

In addition, other safety requirements, such as egress windows and operating smoke detectors are required. 

There will be an annual mandatory inspection to ensure these regulations are being complied with. 

New business licenses will be in effect within months (probably by January 1), which will have separate requirements. 

Now, after the passage of a new state law, ARS 9-500.38, the City is exploring further regulations in order to operate a Sober Living home within the City limits. 

It’s important to note that the following items are currently proposed, but have not yet been enacted into City law. 

Stating that the new ordinances under consideration are to protect, “…residents of Structured Sober Living Homes and the neighboring community from operators who fail to provide the supportive, residential family-like living environment necessary to achieve and maintain sobriety,” the City is examining regulations that might include: 

1. Written notification from the home with a variety of information, plus the property owner’s name and contact info as well as a copy of the lease that allows for such a use.

2. Supervision during all hours of operation.

3. The establishment and maintenance of an operation plan that includes rehab procedures, discharge planning, residence maintenance, noise abatement and more. 

Applications for a permit would have to be submitted to the City; the permit can be issued if all is in compliance, or it can be denied or even revoked if the standards are not met. 

Owners/Operators will have to show an employment history that does not include termination during the last two years for reasons such as assault, sexual harassment, embezzlement or theft, or various drug allegations. The owner/operator may not have been convicted of or pled no contest within the last 7-10 years of certain (unspecified at this point) criminal offenses.

House Managers must reside at the home, or may work in shifts. They must have a high school diploma or a GED. They must be 21, and, “Upon the date or employment has enough time in sobriety needed to minimize the chances of relapse or recidivism." The proposal includes a mandatory certification, which entails training in general home oversight, basic first aid and CPR, crisis management, medical and medication issues, and more. 

Occupants will be required to be actively participating in a “legitimate recovery program” and the home must maintain current records of meeting attendance. Alcohol and non-prescription drugs must be prohibited. Level II and III sex offenders are not permitted to live in the homes. 

Violations may be reported to the City, and those reporting can not be retaliated against. 

The Mayor’s Ad Hoc Committee on Structured Sober Living Homes will meet tonight at City Hall at 5:00 PM. The meeting is open to the public. 

Resources

Watch Attorney Paladini’s Presentation to Council here: 

Download the proposed Structured Sober Living Operational Regulations here. This is the Powerpoint used by Attorney Paladini.

Read the letters sent to the Community Residences below: