Cities, courts grapple with citizen complaints about residential group homes and sober-living facilities protected, and encouraged, under state and federal law

The presence of sober living and other group homes in the area has come into increasing focus in recent weeks, following the death of a young man in Dana Point in late July. Cities like San Clemente can only do so much, however. Photo: Jim Shilander
The presence of sober living and other group homes in the area has come into increasing focus in recent weeks, following the death of a young man in Dana Point in late July. Cities like San Clemente can only do so much, however. Photo: Jim Shilander

By Jim Shilander and Andrea Papagianis

In recent months, residents of Dana Point, San Clemente and San Juan Capistrano have expressed increasing concern about their neighbors—many of them new. For them, the issue isn’t so much the quality of their neighbors but rather the frequency in turnover of these new residents.

These neighbors come and go from residential group homes—some for children and adolescents, others for disabled adults and many for people recovering from alcohol and drug abuse.

Between the three south Orange County cities there are 24 licensed drug and alcohol treatment facilities. This includes residential homes, inpatient and outpatient facilities, according to a report from the state Department of Health Care Services, which provides licensing oversight for such facilities.

These residential treatment facilities are considered single-family residences in the eyes of both the state and municipal governments, so long as no more than six people are residing in the home. Under that foundation, these dwellings are awarded the same freedoms as traditional single-family residences. But they are licensed by the state and therefore must meet certain standards.

As far as municipal rules go though, there is little to no oversight, or even enforcement measures that can be taken, because city regulations regarding such uses simply do not exist—as group homes, with six or fewer people, are permitted by right in any residential zone.

But area residents aren’t necessarily pleased with that.

In Capistrano Beach, residents have raised issues with a lack of street parking, cigarette butts and late-night noise. But they remained fairly quiet until a young man was found dead inside a neighboring home on Tuesday, July 22. Many watched from their homes and their front lawns as Orange County Sheriff’s Department deputies arrived and as the lifeless body was removed from the home.

Officials confirmed a 25-year-old man died in the home, neighbors have referred to as a sober living facility, but the cause of death will not be determined for at least 12 weeks, said Mitchell Sigal, supervising deputy coroner with the Orange County Coroner Division.

In San Clemente, residents near one home on South Ola Vista made the City Council aware of issues they were having in June, when the five-member body unanimously approved spending $5,000 to support legal battles being waged by Newport Beach over group home regulations.

 

City Attempts to Regulate

Residents of Ola Vista said a number of recent police responses to the home had troubled them. To address their concerns, neighbors encouraged the council to regulate group homes as much as possible.

But Dana Point’s d San Clemente’s hands, along with those of other California cities, may be tied.

Residential treatment centers are not only protected under state laws but also under federal ones, making it difficult for local municipalities to step up to the enforcement plate.

Group homes, mainly those for the disabled and elderly, were encouraged in the 1970s as a way to keep people living in residential areas, enjoying the lifestyle and interacting with neighbors.

The concept was expanded in 2000 when 60 percent of California voters passed Proposition 36, or the Substance Abuse and Crime Prevention Act—a law cheered by public health and criminal justice advocates as a way to keep low-level drug offenders out of the state prison system and a means to get them into treatment and recovery facilities.

Since the law’s implementation in July 2001, an estimated 700 treatment facilities have been licensed by the state, according to numbers from the California Drug Counseling Inc., a nonprofit substance abuse treatment center in Pasadena.

With a rise in residential treatment facilities, however, came a rise in resident complaints.

In 2008, the city of Newport Beach passed a zoning ordinance regulating, and in some cases limiting to services of, group homes.

Before the ordinance, group homes were operating freely in residential areas. But after receiving complaints from residents, much like the ones being heard in south county today, the City Council passed an ordinance that forced many group homes out of the city.

“They cared less about their interaction with neighbors,” said Newport Beach City Attorney Aaron Harp, of residents who complained about the facilities’ turnover and the way it changed the neighborhoods. The city itself was more concerned with homeowners changing a traditional residential use into a commercial one, he said.

Newport Beach’s ordinance impacted group homes, such as treatment centers, sober living facilities, boardinghouses, sororities and fraternities, by prohibiting new group homes from operating in most residential areas and requiring existing homes to go through a permitting process that new ones would be subject to.

While the law’s language was neutral, group home owners fought the ordinance in court arguing that the zoning rules targeted sober living homes unfairly.

In 2007, before the ordinance was adopted, Newport had 72 group homes. By 2013, there were just 27.

Two treatment organizations operating in Newport Beach, Pacific Shores Properties LLC and Newport Coast Recovery LLC, sued the city in 2009 after their permits were denied. The judge presiding over the case, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, ruled in favor of the city.

Operators appealed that decision. In September, three justices with the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously ruled Newport Beach discriminated against homes for recovering addicts in enacting and enforcing its group home ordinance.

The appellate court also found the trial court erred in not considering evidence proving the city’s “sole objective in enacting and enforcing its ordinance was to discriminate against persons deemed to be disabled under state and federal housing discrimination laws,” Judge Stephen Reinhardt wrote in his opinion.

The federal Fair Housing Act and Americans with Disabilities Act extend to persons recovering from drug and alcohol addiction, Reinhardt wrote.

The court has opened the door for liability issues for cities, Harp said, since the ordinance’s language was non-discriminatory. He believes the court read prejudiced intent where it was not.

Five appellate court judges, who did not hear the case, issued a dissent. Newport Beach now has plans to submit a petition to the U.S. Supreme Court. Five cities have signed on in support of Newport’s appeal, including San Clemente, Laguna Beach, Claremont, Costa Mesa and Bradbury.

The city expects to know if the Supreme Court will take up the case sometime in the fall, Harp said.

Residents Raise Concerns Locally

Counselors with Sovereign Health, a treatment facility located in the Talega Business Park of San Clemente, refers those who have left the facility for drug and alcohol dependency to sober living homes to continue their treatment, said the organization’s spokeswoman Penny Alvarez.

However, the organization only refers clients to homes that have been licensed by the state. Other homes, such as sober living homes, are not licensed by the state. There are an estimated 30 unlicensed sober-living or other group facilities operating in San Clemente, according to Brent Panas, the city’s code compliance officer.

A number have popped up recently in the southwest area of the city, he said.

Lisa Gaskin lives near one such home.

Gaskin believes there are “different levels” of such facilities. Some, she noted, regularly have residents picked up in a single vehicle, while others have “cars parked all over the street, many from out of state.” People were “constantly changing,” she said, with turnover sometimes coming in less than a month.

But a larger issue is a lack of neighborliness, she belives.

On a recent day, Gaskin reported, an open window led to her overhearing graphically crude language. Another time, she said her son was watching television upstairs when he heard loud vomiting coming from a neighboring home.

The family is now considering moving away.

Similar complaints have been heard throughout neighboring cities.

But with the final outcome of Newport Beach’s case still to be determined, it is likely local residents will be left with little recourse until a final decision is made—possibly one coming from the nation’s highest court.

About The Author Staff

comments (28)

  • I am commenting as a citizen who has first hand experience with AA and the sober living community. Many alcoholics/drug addicts truly want to get sober and need daily guidance to do so. I applaud them for that because it’s a matter of life and death. However, as a Mother of a young child, I also have the responsibility to protect my family from what I know to be dangerous and criminal activity that occurs within these homes, especially when not supervised properly. There IS drug use. There IS alcohol abuse. There IS crime. This behavior should NOT be allowed in residential areas PERIOD. I don’t want to continue picking up cigarette butts from my front yard. I don’t want to have to close my doors and windows so as to not hear crude language from those walking down the street without a care in the world about the neighbors they cohabit with. I don’t want to worry that my house/car/etc. is going to be broken in to so these people can feed their habits. This is NOT fair to us families who have worked hard to make our neighborhoods a nice, safe place for our families. When you have a home where the turnover is weekly/monthly, you simply do NOT get people in there that give a crap about anyone else. It’s a “holding” place for them until they can decide what they want to do with the rest of their lives or until someone else will take care of them. We no longer have a Neighborhood watch, we have a Neighbor “HOOD” watch. If we are FORCED to live amongst them, then these houses should have more regulations and they should have laws for better supervision. If not, there should be consequences for the owner of the property. Period. Or better yet, maybe we should just find out who the property owners are and open up a facilities in their backyards.

    • I am disabled and have cancer…I can no longer go to my favorite local thrift store. la tienda on el camino real nest to 7-11 on Palizada for these same complaints. The Idiot who runs the sober living facility, named Myles…is a crook:litterally and figuratively…he rents a two bedroom one bath with 15 men…myles has over 15 hidden camaras all over the connected thrift store (La Tienda)…and he can view the customers from the privacy of his home in another county. People are donating their personal belongings to this so called Joshoshuas’s House…then Myles turns a rediculous profit !!! the thrift store is open from 10am-7pm…and they bring in 1600$ a day !!! thats outrageous…the worst part is they have a company van that loads up whatever valubles they cannot sell for obvious reasons of being outrageously overpriced…these valubles are put into a van and taken to the ortega dump!!! myles also encourages all of the drunk and rude homeless straglers to walk in…pick out hand fulls of new clothes and give the clothes to these homeless people….i keep seeing the same well-dressed drunk homeless mean folks wandering through my town with different outfits on every day !!!! it’s disgusting…especially since miles would never five me free clothes even having cancer…one of his henchmen (employee) told me as I cried…hey !! these people dont even have a home !!!! disgusting…easy solution…fire Myles…get a new more organized conservative guy to run the house…cut the prices in half like it was a year ago…and no more free stuff for the drunk homeless straglers !!! oh, and I forgot to mention that when Myles was offered this managerial position he was on probation from committing check fraud and embezzling money !!!! its pathetic san clemente

    • This is not ethical journalistic reporting because it does not offer the statistics on crime, noise, etc . that is normal for these neighborhoods anyway. It does not show the “other side,” of how most of these sober living homes are occupied by people struggling with addiction that come from homes in the same economic levels as the wealthy residents to live here. In other words, these are their kids and young adults! Sober living is not cheap. This paper places itself clearly in the yellow journalism zone when all it does is publish an article that is a mouthpiece for people who are uneducated about the struggles of people with a disease.

    • Aida Resurreccion Reply

      I echo Shari’s comment. I live next door to a Half Way House for drug addicts and I am at my wits end on how to live peacefully with these undisciplined, reckless and rude individuals. There are shrubs bordering my property and the Half Way House. These guys smoke incessantly and throw cigarette butts into my property into the shrubbery. No matter how hard I keep up with removing the dead branches from the shrubberies, I couldn’t keep up. I warned the supervisor that there is a very real fire danger of smoldering butts burning the dead leaves and branches. I begged, cajoled, yelled at them about the smoking to no avail. We are senior citizens living in our home; my mother is 90 years old. Should there be a fire, I don’t think we will be quick enough to escape. All three of us are also allergic to smoke. After over a year of complaining, the supervisor was finally able to impose some rules about no smoking on our side of the house.

      Just in the past few weeks, we caught one of the occupants dumping trash into our bins. When we caught him, he immediately took all of the trash bags back and dumped them into their own garbage bins. It happened again last Sunday. This time we did not catch anyone in the act, but when we opened our bins, they had overfilled all the bins with their trash without regard to sorting the recyclables from the regular trash. We took out their trash and dumped them into their driveway. By the way, there were a good amount of latex gloves inside the bags of trash. I don’t know what that means.

      We keep our windows close all the time so as not to hear the profanity and trash talk coming from that house. For some reason, they seem to not know how to communicate using “inside voices”. They play loud music and talk at the top of their voices. We can hear their phone conversations when we are working on our yard. They do brag about how good they have it living in a house with a good view of the ocean. It is infuriating.

      We are scared the value of our property has gone down because of this Half Way House. We worked so hard, constantly improving our house, and our yard, but I think all of our effort and expenditures are now wasted. The Half Way house is not well maintained. It looks like those houses rented by slum lords where some windows and doors have broken screens; the yard is full of weeds, etc. How does this kind of “business” ( I think it is a business) allowed in a residential area. If there is some activism group forming in San Clemente, I am in. Please include me.

      • Aida Resurreccion……‎Eva O’Keefe‎ is very involved in working on this subject! Join on Facebook…Crime in San Clemente & Safety Tips

  • I have to laugh. A bit anyway.

    Of course these group homes, halfway houses and dual diagnosis places are housing ill, mentally unstable and transient persons in our little city. And of course it’s wrong and in time bad things will happen. It is part of the death by 1000 cuts of San Clemente in some respects. Many people don’t realize this but Ole Hanson (like alot of developers) had “race restrictive covenants” placed in all his deed lots for the years he sold lots. Many of you can find them by looking at the earliest deeds on your title search if you own an Ole lot as almost everyone in the southwest area does. For whatever reason, sadly, old Ole didn’t want non “caucasians” here as the deeds proclaim. But, over time, of course our Supreme Court outlawed these across the US. Why? Because there is NO such thing as absolute private property “rights”. Thankfully many things trump so called private property rights.

    I have to laugh because some of the very same people who are now complaining about the criminals, insane folks and addicts living next door in southwest in many locations were/are also the very same folks who yelled “private property rights” and other tea baggy slogans of nonsense about liberty and the right to rent their homes to ANYone for ANY purpose. And of course many of these former neighbors got in trouble on their houses and would rent to the devil himself if they could regardless of the flotsam and jetsam left behind in good ol SC.

    I oppose these mini addict/schizo motels of course but not because of some strained interpretation of Constitutional law but because it makes this a place that is highly undesirable to live. Here’s a list of some of the 1000 cuts we suffered–

    1. Freeway dead center through town
    2. Sprawl
    3. Poor density planing
    4. Nuke plant
    5. Nuke plant leaking
    6. Sewage treatment located at city gateway
    7. Weekly beach rentals allowed anywhere
    8. Trees cut down to create Aliso Viejo By The Sea
    9. 2 stories allowed ANYwhere robbing views
    10. A movement to create 3 stories downtown
    11. A toll road that so far is held at bay thankfully
    12. A TRASH outlet mall that will bring zero soul to the place
    13. Halfway houses for cons, addicts and schizophrenics right next door to your children and million dollar houses.

    San Clemente’s long history of making very poor choices is why this place is no Montecito, or even Laguna Beach. It’s why the city has a reputation in law enforcement circles as “Stanton By the Sea”.

    There is plenty that can be done. It is great to see so many residents starting to speak out about this. Solving this last issue of group homes will take spine on behalf of electeds, a looooooong fight, and keeping new aggressive leadership in town.

    Remember— it has been this city’s old leadership that gave us all most of the above list

  • 1) The petition before the SCOTUS is limited to discrimination & does not try to prohibit SLEs. In the NB case, the regs enforced were facially nondiscriminatory but the 9th Circuit felt the motivation was biased despite absence of any proof of discrimination being the motivating factor. The future implications of not having to prove discrimination in a discrimination lawsuit should scare all of us.
    2) There is no “treatment” so please don’t call them “treatment facilities.” It is simply a dwelling where people [attempt to] live clean & sober.
    3) That no formal treatment is provided is important to SLE owners because – as crazy as it sounds – this is the loophole that keeps them from having to follow any zoning regs or licensing procedures including …
    4) there is NO 6-person limit. SLEs enjoy the STATE definition of “family” (Santa Barbara v. Adamson). If they were a treatment facility then they’d have to meet rules & regs & maybe even get a license but, no, they’re a family. And the free-for-all CA definition of “family” is any group of people who choose to live together as a family (i.e., anything goes.) If local governments aren’t allowed to put a cap on the number of people a traditional family is allowed to have in a singe-family home then they cannot treat any other family differently. This is the discrimination part. Trust me, there are 12 people shoved into a 1,150 sq. ft. home across the street & there’s not a thing we can do about it. The folks out in San Jose were lucky enough to get the 20 people in their neighborhood SLE down to 8 or so but they’re the exception.
    5) I would like to have seen some of the rents that clients must pay & HOW people come to live in SLEs. The article does say that they were set up to relieve the jail population but you’d be surprised at what people are willing to pay a month for <100 sq. ft. of space (or freedom rather). Not everyone an afford it. Those people still go to jail. In other words, if you or your parents are wealthy enough, you don't have to suffer the same consequences as everyone else.

    SLEs & their owners are essentially stellar examples of widespread exploitation. They exploit the fact that hardworking people establish a desirable neighborhood & then parasitically set their rents at the cost of our property values. They exploit an inequitable option offered by the justice system. And they exploit their disabled clients who pay through the nose out of desperation.
    There are, of course, legitimate SLEs who follow the spirit of the law as well as the letter. However, they shouldn't worry if the petition is heard (& hopefully succeeds) before the SCOTUS. No one should be worried that local governments be allowed to require regulations be met, licenses be obtained & zoning ordinances be followed to protect everyone, including the very disabled people these SLEs claim to help.

  • Good thoughts,
    I might suggest that someone who may be designated “Handicapped” sue a Group home for not being”Handicapped assessable”. It is not uncommon that businesses’ get sued thru the ADA for not being assessable for Wheelchairs ect. Group homes would have to have and should have, ramps, 36″inch wide door openings, toilets, showers and sinks that would accomodate handicapped people. The one thing that makes these homes untouchable could be the one thing that may make them touchable. If held to this standard it could make a difference.
    Jim

  • This same problem is taking place in Prescott AZ. Recently this issue popped up on Vice. Instances of shady admission practices and illegal kickbacks. I can speak to my experience and say that Prescott will continue to grapple with this growing under regulated industry until proper oversight is implemented. See the Gatehouse Academy scandal for information on some of the issues that have arisen at these sober homes.

  • I live in the Talega area of San Clemente. I have seen a handful of people protesting these homes in the area at the intersection near the Ralph’s. The protestors seem to think their children’s safety is at stake. I think it’s sad that the parents drag their kids to hold signs on a Saturday afternoon for most of the day. If that were me I would much rather be playing soccer. Anyways, I lived in one of these treatment homes for a while in Newport Beach. Homes like these saved my life, which I nearly lost because of poor decisions with drugs. In addition to the life saving benefits of these homes did you see that I mentioned I lived in one in Newport Beach. These people in Talega believe they are somewhat elite and above the other local residents. They think they should have more of a say about what goes on in the community. For all of those residents who need a wake up call scroll back to the part where I said I lived in a sober living in Newport Beach. The residents of this city are the same ones that govern how pilots fly out of John Wayne airport now the most dangerous airport in the country to fly out of. They can make air travel less safe so they are not as disturbed by the planes but they couldn’t stop sober living establishments. These people in Talega are wasting their time and they are ignorant to believe that they will stop these homes from operating and helping others.

    • I think the City has shown support to evaluate the Group Homes (various types) to ensure the benefits to all citizens of San Clemente. They passed an Emergency Moratorium to study the situation. I have not heard one person say they do not want to help others in need, it is the owners of these group homes and facilities that are making extraordinary amounts of money and not really putting the person in need first. They are unregulated in many instances, have poor follow up and quite a bit of FRAUD has increased the demand. Check out many of the web sites when you google Drug and Rehab Facilities San Clemente…. the marketing is all about getting them to the Quaint Village by the Sea. If they were non-profit… I think you would see a different result. Our city resources are unfairly being required while the owners do not have to pay for ambulance, fire dept, police assistance or paramedics. In one instance a paramedic said they had 7 calls to one house in one day (city paid for the service, owner collected the money paying for the patients care). You can get the picture.
      One such owner lives in Talega – drives a $150,000 car, has a wife and two children… is it you?

      • Hi SJ, thank you for your reply to my post and your honest opinion. As a fellow tax payer I truly respect your opinions on paying for other citizen’s emergency transportation. I often have beliefs that my tax dollars are sometimes wasted as well. In addition, I see that your reply is very focused on the owners of the recovery homes and the fact that they may be involved in fraudulent activity. This is where I choose to put my trust in our established justice system. If these people are frauds like you seem to know they are then I’m sure justice will be served. Let’s go back to the reply though. I would like to point out that you hardly addressed my initial argument. You plainly told me your thoughts on the overall situation. Maybe you should have created your own response to the article instead of an arbitrary reply to my response. I had a large concern with the residents protesting these recovery homes in my response to the article. These adults who brought their children with them to the intersection by the Ralph’s and held signs showing concern for their children’s safety. The fact that they used their children as shields so what they could really say was “please get these recovery homes out of here so our property value doesn’t drop.” My overall view and statement was in regards to these people who are so self centered they don’t even consider the fact that someone living in one of those recovery homes could have been dead without a drug/alcohol free place to live. Anyways, yes! I live in Talega. I actually live in Pinnacle at Talega apartment homes (Sorry no golf course views for me.) I have a Volkswagen Rabbit, 2-door stock model, that was purchased for 15,000.00 dollars. 1 tenth the cost of what you seem to think I drive, however, I am flattered. I work 40+ hours a week and I almost always work weekends and holidays so do believe me when I say I am a tax payer and care about how my tax money is spent. I am 26 years old and a recovering heroin addict with over 3 and a half years clean. Since I have started the road to recovery I earned my bachelor of science in Health Science at CSUF. I am currently earning my second bachelors in Computer Science. My girlfriend, not wife, lives with me and is almost done with her masters program. She also works on the weekends. We have no children but we do have a cat and a couple fish since your asking. Anyways the VW rabbit is silver and has a “Young Americans for Mitt Romney” bumper sticker on the lower right hand side of the rear window (I’m sure you weren’t expecting that). If you see me driving through the city I invite you to flag me down and we can discuss our opinions on the matter in a more sensible manner. I will also be able to prove to you that I don’t have mink interior in the VW so there really is no way this car could ever amount to 150,000 bucks!

  • We live in San Clemente our street is a culdesac , with small children and teens, near a school, we just found out that our new neighbors are running a half way house. We were not notified, and when calling the city they didn’t know ether. Is there not a law that requires the neighborhoods to be notified and aloud to take a vote if they want to have a half way house next to their homes? And what is this going to do to our resale value? If I were looking to buy a home and knew a house was filled with recovering drug users and felons I would not chose to move on that street. Is there nothing we as existing home owners do? Do we have no rights at all.? Should we not have been told?

    • This is the saddest thread I have ever read on SC Times. Drug addiction is a problem that affects people from every walk of life and from every family. When you think you are above it, it will hit you. We need as a community to treat all people with respect, especially our most vulnerable. I am more concerned that your wife, husband, friend, daughter or son will be the help and treatment that they need to live, than I am about the value of your home. People matter.

      • So, having police, ambulances and fire trucks show up at all hours of the day and night and homeowners finding beer cans, is okay?

        Well, I and many others don’t find it okay. Our homes are now in a war zone. Fights, constant noise; police, fire trucks. Well, if it’s okay with you dear, how about buying one of the houses near the sober living place that just popped up on La Ventana? I am sure that you’d be as happy as a lark.

  • check out petition today regarding this very issue
    http://www.takeactionsanclemente.com/

  • Where do you think these people come from that have now found refuge in your community? I hesitate to use the word community after reading the responses on this page. Let these people be a living example to your children, it will probably prompt questions that would otherwise go unexplained. Please look at how the supply and demand model supports an increase in residential treatment. There wouldn’t be more addicts in recovery moving into the neighborhood if the number of addicts wasn’t increasing. It’s about time the community became involved with the reality of drug addiction in the common home. Parents are so concerned with the safety of their children because of a legitimate fear that they will grow up to be an addict themselves. Use this time to talk with your child and the dangers that accompany a path of substance abuse. Use this opportunity to welcome people into your community to fortify acceptance. I would rather my child meet an individual trying to battle addiction under the sanctity of community then an active addict in denial behind closed doors while staying with a friend. Either way an introduction will occur but are the parents ready to bear witness to it?

    • these pricks are here to trash my home front of 33 years…..the parents should be drawn and quartered…..torn apart limb by limb…..why don’t these kock suckers who run these whorehouses have these little hookers spend the day sweeping the gutters like I do, or sweep strangers porches? duh

    • Well said Christina! These are “sober” living houses after all. People that are trying to make their lives better. There but for the grace of God go I.

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  • Wow, I see the way it works now. A kid can have no respect for self or authority. Get smaked out of his head till he has a near death experience. Amazingly this piece of work gets to suffer through his self absorbed, meaningless and aimless, emotionless life, where he continplates his navel or vandalizes the old ladies house next door, right in our sleepy little town of San Clemente. Wow seems to me he got a reward for doing drugs. He got to the beach…seems like a poorly run non-incentivized way to do things. Perhaps our city gov’t is smaked out of its head too! Give me strength. Send ’em to church, or jail…And keep ’em there! Far, far, away from here. And please don’t explain that alcohol is a disease!!!um really, bleeding hearts, put the bottle down…put it down. U can’t fix stupid!

  • Wow. I sure hope all these supportive, forgiving, cheerleaders for tweakers will be around to buy when I try to sell my house…right next door to one of these things. Of course, they’re going to want a discount…because, you know.

    • well dear, maybe you’d like to move to our street which USED to home young families and older residents. NOW it’s home to the junkies and drinkers. NOW many of our homeowners don’t get a decent night’s sleep because of the screams, yelling, the police cars, ambulances, fire trucks, etc.

      Maybe dear, you are the ignorant one. Wait until they move into a “sober living” next door to you.

      • Arienne……You are so right……I have lived in town….taught education…..completed SCHS ……My family is here……but, unfortunately…..I now refer to “the world’s best kept secret…..san clemente,”…..as, “slutty-sold-out-sinister, swindling…san clemente….the town that will sell your virgin daughter to the highest bidder”….it’s tragic…..no one can even handle doing something as simple as drive the speed limit of 25mph…..it’s made a madman out of all of us that have been loyal to our town ….which has in turn sold-out….I went from knowing most of my neighbors…..to walking out of my front door….to a blur of too many cars…and strange faces….and a sea of cigarette butts on the ground….great job san clemente…you sold-out….and at what a price????what was once priceless is now all-used-up like all of it’s new residents…trailer-trash..

  • There but for the grace of God go I.

  • I fully support NB in there struggle to have oversight over community Drug and Alcohol; Treatment centers. The profit margins on these unregulated businesses is unbelievable and it comes as the expense of the community.
    Most of us have been affected by immediate family or close friends that have struggled with drug and/or alcohol abuse. It doesn’t change the fact that these are businesses masquerading as a residential house. They should be treated and zoned as what they are, businesses.
    We have let being politically correct get in the way of common sense.

  • Many people are under the assumption that the prices being charged for sober living is the same as for luxury residential treatment, which is usually not true. I was a co-owner of a sober living house and the incoming funds went for food, utilities, house payment, taxes, insurance, transportation for the Clients and maintenance of the house with minimal left over for prudent reserve. We did not end up making money on our investment until we sold the house. By the way: to me, Recovery means that the Clients in a sober living house ARE part of the neighborhood, and they need to act that way. Someone should be assigned to pick up cigarette butts, mow the lawn, clean the house, etc. When there are excessive complaints from the neighbors about noise, police visits, fights, etc. then there may not be any Recovery in that house. Recovery means that the Group is more important than the individual – that is how people re-integrate into society, not just by abstaining from drugs and alcohol. One solution could be to have a neighborhood gathering involving the owner and/or house manager first, then include the residents of the house later IF things improve. Good Luck, San Clemente.

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