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Adopt a Group Home Ordinance

This petition had 2,349 supporters

A Petition to Adopt a Group Home Ordinance in San Clemente

Petition Summary:

The City of San Clemente in the past several years has seen a major influx of group homes and treatment facilities (including sober living homes, detox houses, rehabilitation clinics and boarding houses) coming into residential neighborhoods with minimal regulation, oversight or concerns for the impact of the neighborhoods in which they are located.

Over concentration (or clustering) of these facilities in close proximity to one another (in one case, more than five on a single street) and lack of sufficient regulation have created problems for the local residents as well as the patients themselves.

Some of the problems are:

  • Lack of regulation and oversight, causing large disparities in quality of care

  • Increased proportion of neighborhood homes that have traditionally been owner-occupied are now being leased or purchased by for-profit corporations for use as addiction treatment centers or short-term sober living homes

  • Overcrowded dwellings

  • Unlicensed treatment facilities posing as sober living homes in order to avoid regulations

  • Increased automobile traffic

  • Parking issues

  • Noise and disturbance-of-the-peace violations

  • Secondhand smoke

  • Ongoing drug use


Action Petitioned For:

We the undersigned are concerned citizens who request that the San Clemente City Council act now and adopt an ordinance similar to that adopted by the City of Costa Mesa (Costa Mesa Ordinance 14-13) in order to regulate the clustering and operation of group treatment facilities and group homes, including sober living homes operating or planning to operate in San Clemente residential neighborhoods.    


Background and History:

Over the past several years, our San Clemente residential neighborhoods have suffered from an explosion of for-profit group homes (including rehabilitation and sober living operations) opening in our once- tranquil neighborhoods. In 2014, on one particular street in San Clemente, there was a single facility. One year later, because there are no regulations regarding clustering of these facilities, there are now five such facilities—all operating within 1,000 feet of one another.

In 2014, the San Clemente Code Compliance Division knew of 44 such operators. Today, that number has doubled to more than 85, with more on the way. These facilities (most, if not all, for-profit) are currently affecting neighborhoods throughout San Clemente, including homeowner association neighborhoods such as  Talega, The Reserve, Forster Ranch, and the Coast District.  

We do not oppose the operation of legitimate, licensed and regulated group homes that are reasonably spaced in order to preserve the safety and character of our neighborhoods and provide a tranquil safe environment for those who would need it. However, we are concerned about the operation of for-profit, unlicensed businesses in single-family residential neighborhoods that operate unregulated especially where they are in close proximity to one another, jeopardizing community safety, compromising the character of neighborhoods and taking advantage of disabled persons who are seeking help.  

California legislation currently allows group homes to operate in residential areas in order to provide a supportive living environment for recovery. 

A family setting is seen to be more conducive for recovery than an institutional one. However, in many cases, corporations and for-profit business owners are taking advantage of this legislation, hurting our neighborhoods and the people whom the laws have been designed to help. 

  • Lack of oversight and regulation has led to instances where corporations have placed profits ahead of patient well-being. One example of this was recently highlighted in this news report from May 5, 2015.

  • The clustering of these facilities is drastically reducing the single-family character and stability of the residential areas they are in. (One concerned citizen has noted that there are five facilities within 1,000 feet of his front door, with two on either side. Last year, there was only one.)

  • Their secondary effects (heavy traffic, lack of parking, noise, disturbance of the peace, increased proportion of transient residents, secondhand cigarette smoke, number of emergency responses, etc.) are also destroying the nature and tranquility of neighborhoods

  • In effect, the lack of regulation, monitoring and licensing of these homes is destroying the very reason that California legislation allows such facilities to be in our residential areas in the first place


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