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Innovations in Municipal Regulation of Group Homes, Sober Homes, and Recovery Communities


Gain an understanding of the zoning provisions for community residences and recovery communities that comply with the Fair Housing Act and statewide zoning laws.

Headlines across the nation trumpet the scam artists raking in big bucks with phony sober living homes. Cities, especially in warm climates, are being inundated with sober homes and recovery communities but all too many municipalities respond with overreaching zoning regulations the courts are obligated to strike down for violating the nation's Fair Housing Act. Individual court decisions often seem contradictory. Writing zoning provisions for community residences for people with disabilities (group homes, sober homes, recovery communities, small halfway houses) that comply with the Fair Housing Act and statewide zoning laws is a complicated, very nuanced art and science. This topic reveals the bases for legal zoning for community residences for people with disabilities. It teaches the ins and outs of how to legally zone for the growing variety of community residences for people with disabilities, with a focus on innovative approaches to zoning for sober living homes and recovery communities in accord with the Fair Housing Act. It explains the impact of statewide zoning laws on local zoning for community residences and how to overcome statewide zoning provisions that run afoul of the Fair Housing Act.



Daniel Lauber, AICP

Daniel Lauber, AICP

Law Office of Daniel Lauber

  • Law Office of Daniel Lauber
  • Practice focused on land use law, fair housing, zoning for community residences for people with disabilities, conducting analyses of impediments to fair housing choice
  • Author of model zoning guidelines for community residences for the American Bar Association and American Planning Association
  • Author of “A Real LULU: Zoning for Group Homes and Halfway Houses Under the Fair Housing Amendments Act of 1988,” in The John Marshall Law Review, Winter 1996, pp. 369–407; analyses of impediments to fair housing choice for the District of Columbia; Fairfax County, VA; Clark County, NV; Naperville, IL; Houston, TX (partial), and many more
  • Principle author of the American Planning Association’s Amicus Curiae Brief for the prevailing side in City of Edmonds v. Washington State Building Code Council, 514 U.S. 725 (1995)
  • Author of zoning amendments governing community residences in Prescott, AZ; Delray Beach, Pompano Beach, Fort Lauderdale, FL; Clark County, NV; and numerous other cities and counties
  • Expert witness in group home zoning cases for the U.S. Department of Justice and numerous group home operators
  • Principal Contributing Consultant to the American Bar Association Advisory Commission on Housing and Urban Growth
  • J.D. degree, Northwestern University School of Law; Master's of Urban Planning, University of Illinois-Urbana; B.A. degree in sociology, University of Chicago
  • Memberships: ABA, Committee on Regulation of Land Use, Chair of the Group Home and Congregate Living Subcommittee; Chicago Bar Association, American Institute of Certified Planners (president 1992-1994, 2002-2005), American Planning Association (president 1985-1986), National Low Income Housing Coalition, Planners Network; American Association on Mental Retardation, Region VI Executive Committee and Legal Advocacy Vice Chair
  • Received an award from the American Planning Association in each of the past four decades
  • Can be contacted at, email: [email protected] or 708-366-5200

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