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City of Newport Beach <br />Hearing Officer Resolution <br />StepHouse Recovery, Inc. (2927 Paper Lane) <br />Page 2 of 10 <br />alcoholism and drug addiction as a disability because it is a physical or mental condition <br />that substantially impairs one or more major daily life activities. <br />2. Required Finding: The requested accommodation is necessary to provide <br />one or more individuals with a disability an equal opportunity to use and <br />enjoy a dwelling. <br />Facts in Support of Finding: Consistent with court decisions, applicants requesting <br />reasonable accommodation are required to demonstrate the necessity of the <br />accommodation request by showing disabled residents will receive a therapeutic benefit <br />that directly ameliorates an effect of their handicap at the requested population levels <br />and /or location (also referred to as "affirmatively enhancing the quality of life" of a <br />disabled individual or individuals). It is the applicant's burden to demonstrate that the <br />requested accommodation is necessary. The "necessary" element requires the <br />demonstration of a direct linkage between the proposed accommodation and the 'equal <br />opportunity' to be provided to the handicapped person. <br />The exemption requested by StepHouse would allow facility residents to enjoy the <br />housing type of their choice in a single - family residential district. In its application <br />package, the applicant provided statements consistent with court opinions that found <br />living in a single - family residential neighborhood with other persons in recovery from <br />alcohol and drugs directly ameliorated an effect caused by the recovering alcoholic or <br />addict's particular disability. <br />Current residents: The Hearing Officer does not question the need for residential care <br />facilities, nor the fact that persons with a disability must have the opportunity to use and <br />enjoy a dwelling. The facility currently provides housing to residents who could be <br />denied housing if abatement proceeds while they are still in residence at the facility prior <br />to the expiration of the rental agreement with the property owner (April 30, 2012). <br />Denying the accommodation, subject to operational conditions consistent with the <br />Conditional Abatement issued by the City on July 13, 2011, to allow all current residents <br />to complete their intended stay would allow these residents an equal opportunity to use <br />and enjoy their current dwelling. The notice of Conditional Abatement is attached <br />hereto as Exhibit "A" and incorporated by reference. <br />Future residents: The Hearing Officer also considered whether granting a reasonable <br />accommodation to allow this facility to remain in its current location is necessary to <br />allow potential future disabled residents to use and enjoy the housing type of their <br />choice. Without the accommodation, potential future residents seeking to integrate into <br />a sober lifestyle by living in a small sober living environment in a single - family <br />neighborhood and surrounded entirely by single housekeeping units would be deprived <br />of an opportunity to live in this type of dwelling situation. There are no sober living <br />facilities currently authorized by the City providing housing for not more than six persons <br />in a neighborhood designated for single - family detached dwellings. <br />