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City Council Regular
Meeting Date: 05/21/2019  
Subject:    Consider Introduction of Ordinance to add Chapter 2-1200 Reasonable Accommodation
From: David Brodie, City Attorney

City Council is asked to consider introduction of an ordinance adding Chapter 2-1200 Reasonable Accommodation which provides a process for requesting a reasonable accommodation under the Fair Housing Act (FHA).
The Fair Housing Act determines that reasonable accommodations in housing must be made to those with qualifying disabilities.  The FHA protects those who are recovering from substance abuse, are not actively using, and are working to achieve long term sobriety.  These persons are considered to have a disability under the FHA and are a protected class.  The FHA applies to cities and its land use and zoning laws or practices.  Therefore, in some cases a locality must make a reasonable accommodation to those who are classified as having a disability, thus allowing equal opportunity to housing under the FHA.

The FHA views the application of some zoning laws, such as the restriction on the number of unrelated persons who may live in a single family dwelling as a violation of the FHA when applied to those with disabilities unless the locality can provides that a waiver (reasonable accommodation) would impose either a undue financial burden on the local government OR fundamentally after the essential nature of the locality’s zoning scheme.  

The City does not currently have an ordinance or policy that outlines a procedure for reviewing accommodation requests. The City has received an accommodation request that needs to be addressed.   Staff is recommending that the City enact an ordinance to put a process in place for when the City does receive these types of requests.  The proposed ordinance creates an application process and review criteria that requests are evaluated under.  Those criteria include:
  1. Whether there is a qualifying disability.
  2. Whether the request is needed to allow a disabled person equal opportunity to use and enjoy a dwelling or to live in a particular neighborhood as a person without disabilities.
  3. Whether the request is reasonable, considering the potential impact on the surrounding uses, the extent to which the accommodation meets the stated need, and other alternatives that may meet that need.
  4. The number nature and extent of the requested accommodation in relation to the physical limitations of the building and site.
  5. Whether the request would constitute a fundamental alteration of the City’s regulations, policies and procedures.
  6. Whether the request would impose an undue financial or administrative burden on the city.
  7. Any other fact that may have a bearing on the request as determined by the City.
Further, the decision to grant or deny a reasonable accommodation request will be made by City Council.  As part of the proposed ordinance properties within 350 feet of the property making the request will be notified 10 days prior to the meeting in in which the Council will make any decision.   

Consider introduction of an ordinance to add Chapter 2-1200 Reasonable Accommodation which provides a process for requesting a reasonable accommodation under the Fair Housing Act.

Reasonable Accommodation

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