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Planning Major Projects - Group Homes Ordinance

Project Name: Group Homes Ordinance

Applicant: City of Huntington Beach

Location: Citywide

Project Summary

Currently, the Huntington Beach Zoning and Subdivision Ordinance (HBZSO) does not adequately identify or regulate group homes in all areas of the City. The City Council developed an Ordinance that strikes an appropriate balance between the interests of the City and its residents to preserve residential neighborhood character, and the need to provide housing accommodations to disabled persons, including those in recovery from chemical addiction to reside in normalized residential environments.

City staff has begun working on establishing a permit process and associated fees.  The permit fee resolution is anticipated to be adopted within the next few months. 

Group Homes and Sober Living Homes Regulations:

A Group Home (GH) or Sober Living Home (SLH) with six (6) or fewer residents

  • In all Residential districts requires a ministerial Special Use Permit (SUP) from the Community Development Director; and
  • Any SLH shall be one thousand (1000) feet from any other property that contains a GH, SLH, or RCF pursuant to Chapter 230.28

A GH or SLH with seven (7) or more residents

  • Not permitted in the RL zone
  • In all other Residential Districts, requires a CUP from the Planning Commission; and
    • An Operator’s Permit that complies with Huntington Beach Municipal Code (HBMC) Section 5.110; and
    • The GH or SLH (with 7 or more residents) shall be one thousand (1000) feet from any other property that contains a GH or SLH

An applicant for a GH or SLH may seek relief from strict application of the requirements of Additional Provision L-8 by applying for reasonable accommodation pursuant to HBMC 17.77.

Additional Regulatory Changes:

Referral Facilities: Either a Residential Care Facility, Group Home, or Sober Living Home where one or more person’s residency is per a court order or similar directive. Referral facilities must follow the permit procedure according to the base use classification, and are not permitted in the RL zone.

Referral Facilities are not permitted in the RL zone; and

  • No Referral Facility may be located:
    • Within five hundred (500) feet of property that is zoned either RL or Specific Plan Residential Low Density, or
    • Within five hundred (500) feet of a school, park, place of worship, or licensed day care facility.
  • Referral Facilities must have an on-site manager 24/7
  • Referral Facilities may not admit a resident convicted of specific crimes

Residential Care Facilities (RCF): A State Licensed residential facility where care, services, or treatment are provided to persons living in a community residential setting. RCFs Provide housing and care/treatment for the elderly, developmentally disabled, chronically ill, and chemical addiction treatment facilities, among others.

  • RCFs that specifically provide drug and or alcohol abuse treatment are licensed by the Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) and are known as alcoholism or drug abuse recovery or treatment facilities.
    • Homes are required to be licensed by the DHCS when at least one of the following services is provided: detoxification, group counseling sessions, individual counseling sessions, educational sessions, or alcoholism or drug abuse recovery or treatment planning.

A City webpage with all information necessary to review the Code, submit an application, or submit an enforcement request will become available in early 2021.

Project Status: Planning

Project Planner: Hayden Beckman

Last Updated: January 11, 2021

Attachments: N/A

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