In a presentation to AVCA, the president of the local chapter of the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependency, (NCADD in the Almaden Valley), made the following points.
AVCA can readily agree that SLEs should be encouraged.
What AVCA can not agree with is the manner in which these homes are being implemented; for example, housing up to 19 residents and three attendants in one house designed for a single family. AVCA agrees with the neighborhood organizations who consider the expanded use of these houses to such large numbers of people to be unacceptable. The spokespersons for the neighborhood organizations have stated that SLEs are acceptable when confined to six residents and two attendants, but that an expansion to up to twenty-two people is unmanageable. Looking at the anecdotal evidence, AVCA agrees. To make SLEs acceptable in the neighborhoods that they wish to enter requires strict city regulation and good communication between the house management and the people of the neighborhood. The increased profit motive for expansion of the number of residents should be mitigated by stiff fines for unacceptable behavior. AVCA suggests that before an SLE expands beyond six residents, that a public hearing take place with sufficient notice to the neighborhood and that applicants be required to pay a fee to have the truthfulness of the application to install or expand a facility be verified. The city has to pay attention and do its job here.
It is said that under the Reasonable Accommodation provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act, the city is hampered from strictly regulating this activity. AVCA feels that, on the contrary, strict regulation must be enforced. The atmosphere of these disability acts may be changing, as evidenced by a recent Supreme Court decision to more narrowly define the term "disability." The city may now have more leeway to more strictly regulate.
In summary: AVCA is in favor of Sober Living Environments with limitations on the number of residents allowed.