Sec. 65.160 of the Legislative Code defines a sober house as follows:
A dwelling unit occupied by more than four persons, all of whom are in recovery from chemical dependency and considered handicapped under the Federal Fair Housing Act Amendments of 1988. It provides a non-institutional residential environment in which the residents willingly subject themselves to written rules and conditions, including prohibition of alcohol and drug use (except for prescription medications obtained and used under medical supervision), intended to encourage and sustain their recovery. The residents of a sober house are similar to a family unit, and share kitchen and bathroom facilities and other common areas of the unit. Sober houses are financially self-supporting. This definition does not include facilities that receive operating revenue from governmental sources. Sober houses do not provide on-site supportive services to residents, including the following: mental health services; clinical rehabilitation services; social services; medical, dental, nutritional and other health care services; financial management services; legal services; vocational services; and other similar supportive services.
While the City has a legitimate interest in preserving the character of its residential neighborhoods through laws that regulate structures, land uses, number of persons occupying a dwelling unit, and off-street parking, the City is committed to ensuring that its regulations are not applied so as to prevent it from making reasonable accommodation as required by the Federal Fair Housing Act Amendments of 1988.
In order to make the reasonable accommodation process work, the applicant has an important role.