Orange County supervisors Tuesday updated an ordinance regulating group homes in unincorporated parts of the county, establishing a required 1,000-foot distance between the sober-living facilities.
“This was in response to some issues arising in unincorporated areas of the county that I’m privileged to represent,” said Supervisor Don Wagner of the ordinance, which was approved in September.
The amendment approved on Tuesday stemmed from “realizing there’s more we could do,” Wagner said.
Mandating a thousand-foot distance between homes will eliminate a “congregation of these homes in any area,” Wagner said.
“It’s good for those trying to get their lives back in order, it’s good for the neighborhoods… and it’s good for the schools that we have a bigger buffer,” Wagner said.
Wagner noted the law only applies in unincorporated areas of the county, not in the cities.
“It is to the city council one must look to regulation of these sober living homes” in the facilities not on county land, Wagner said.
The buffer rule applies to sober-living facilities that house seven or more.
Group homes are often unlicensed sober-living facilities that can draw complaints from neighbors about second-hand smoke and noise and shrinking parking spots.
The ordinance mandates operators provide more information about their operation and limits occupants to six or fewer in single-family residential districts.
Group home operators must have an on-site house manager around the clock, and the residents must be actively involved in recovery programs.
The law also prohibits alcohol and non-prescription drug use and makes residents comply with sex-offender registration requirements. Guests will also be prohibited from getting drunk or high on site.
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