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City Council to Consider Regulating Sober-Living Homes Wednesday [Video]

Councilman calls for voters to fill City Council chambers and testify in favor of the measure.

Councilman Mitch Englander has called for voters to fill the City Council chamber Wednesday to testify in favor of regulating group homes.

"We're gonna need it," Englander told the Chatsworth Community Coordinating Council on Monday. "They will fill Council chambers -- the opponents of this -- because it is a multi-billion dollar operation [nationwide]."

"These are warehouses of people in our communities. We've got houses with 30, 40, 50 people living next door to us... These are ticking timebombs."

Neighbors have long complained of drug use, violence, and threats when some of these unregulated homes have opened in single-family residential neighborhoods.

The Public Safety Commission supported the motion last month, where several community leaders from the Westside, including Pacific Palisades, also attended the hearing in December.

The Pacific Palisades Community Council approved a resolution in September 2010 supporting the Community Care Facilities Ordinance (CCFO), one of the earliest community or neighborhood councils to do so. In its motion, the council said it desires to protect the character of its low density residential neighborhoods and prevent group homes from locating to R1, RD1.5, R2 and RD zoned areas.

The Brentwood Community Council issued its support for the ordinance in November 2010.

The City Council meeting begins at 10 a.m., Wednesday, at City Hall, and the CCFO is No. 13 on the agenda.

Councilmember Englander has been leading the charge to remove so-called unlicensed sober-living homes, group homes and boarding houses from residential neighborhoods since he was chief of staff for former 12th District Councilman Greig Smith who first introduced the CCFO.

"A super-majority of the Neighborhood Councils throughout the city, I'm happy to report, say they want to see CCFO passed," Englander said. "It will give us another tool for LAPD and Building and Safety to crack down..."

The councilman provided an example: "I just toured a facility recently, and you wouldn't imagine putting an animal in these type of conditions.

"There were feces and rotting food all over the place. This was a home not far from here where four people were assassinated in front of the house in the wee hours of the morning.

"I was actually out at the crime scene right after it occurred, and I toured this house and you couldn't imagine living in those conditions."

Englander said the renter of the front bedroom "had to crawl through the window which was access to-and-from his bedroom." He said there was "so much furniture and debris...  that [the] door hadn't been opened in months."

"Two weeks before the shooting, there was a home just like this in Pasadena that burned down and killed two people," Englander said. "So, these are ticking timebombs in our communities."

Following last month's hearing at city hall, former Community Council President and Chairwoman Emeritus Janet Turner said she "was thrilled" public safety concerns that were addressed locally several years ago about group homes are finally being taken seriously, including receiving support from Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.

"Is this a perfect ordinance? No," Turner said, giving her personal opinion. "But at least it's a start and will give the community some protections."

Related Patch stories:

Councilman Issues 'Call to Action' on Group Homes

Englander's Group Home Ordinance Scrutinized by Columnist Lopez

Chatsworth Neighborhood Council Reaffirms Opposition to Group Homes

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Learn more about group homes in this Patch series: 

When Group Homes Locate in Single-Family Neighborhoods
"It was like they had more rights than the people who lived here and paid property taxes," neighbor says.

Group Homes—Neighbors Just Want Them Gone
Sober-living homes exist in residential areas all over Los Angeles, causing friction between neighbors and the homes' operators and residents.

City Hall Battle Looms Over Group-Home Ordinance
A proposed law to regulate unlicensed homes in L.A. has both sides marshaling their forces.

Laura Tompkins January 29, 2013 at 04:50 PM
They are ticking time bombs indeed, since they are run by people from the dangerous cult commonly known as AA. Read link below. This is more common than you know. http://blog.washingtonpost.com/rawfisher/2007/07/midtown_group_aa_group_leads_m.html
Sherri Akers January 29, 2013 at 09:24 PM
Please read the assessment of this proposed ordinance by the LA City Dept. of Disabilities before you give it support - in part "The updated draft of the proposed ordinance continues to pose serious problems with respect to its impact on people with disabilities. People with disabilities are more likely to live in group settings, and inadequate housing and housing instability pose a signi.ficantly greater harm to individuals with disabilities than to the general public. Therefore, any ordinance that limits group housing is of great concern to the disability community. Because the proposed ordinance limits group living arrangements without articulating legitimate, rational reasons for its specific limits, it would invite fair housing lawsuits. Furthermore, some ofthe specifics of the current draft would, if actually enforced, exacerbate the phenomenon of poorly run, dangerous group homes, and dramatically increase homelessness for the maj ority of renting families of four or more people....some of our main concerns are as follows: (link to full document - http://clkrep.lacity.org/onlinedocs/2011/11-0262_rpt_dod_1-11-13.pdf

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