Sober living home regulations delayed

"Currently, according to the Arizona Recovery Housing Association (ARHA), sober homes make their own policies through them, and their members have strict restrictions they follow."

The city of Glendale is considering new regulations that have caused issues with the public. But the planning commission has now delayed discussions until early August.

The plan is to place new regulations on sober living homes. The proposed city ordinance would require sober living homes to register with the city, follow certain city rules and regulations to protect nearby residents, and have its staff background checked.

The planned regulations were set ahead of the Legislature’s own plans for a statewide policy. But legislative leaders say the issue could take as long as June 2020 to go into effect.

Cholla Councilwoman Lauren Tolmachoff requested staff review the issue at hand, and asked staff to research what is needed to improve regulations on the homes.

And residents in Glendale are happy the city is looking into the regulations, but were upset the planning commission had delayed their recommendation.

“This has been talked about and discussed, and residents in the area I live have been very vocal,” Ocotillo resident Juan Mendoza said at the May meeting. “We have one or two in my neighborhood and they cause a lot of trash and drama, and I just want the city to make sure there are rules and regulations for them.”

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, there are a total of 293 substance abuse treatment centers across Arizona.

Currently, according to the Arizona Recovery Housing Association (ARHA), sober homes make their own policies through them, and their members have strict restrictions they follow.

But not all are registered with ARHA.

Other residents were unsure why there are not yet regulations on these facilities.

“How can there be homes with recovering addicts, but the state has no regulations on them or sometimes even know where they are?” Cactus District resident Julia Walters asked. “I just cannot fathom that, and I am glad the city is trying to do something to contain them.”

Barrel resident John Robertson said, “Self-policing these through a private organization, but no state rules — how can that be? That makes no sense to me, and I don’t understand how much more information they need to make these changes.”

Glendale is looking to join Phoenix, which over the past two years has faced its own problems with sober living houses popping up in neighborhoods but not registering with the city.

Phoenix’s newly implemented regulations created a $1,500 licensing fee and limit the maximum number of group homes in the same neighborhood, as well as how close they are.

Phoenix’s regulations took effect in May 2018.