KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A sober living program in Kansas City is taking another step to stay open at its current location.
New Beginnings Sanctuary sued the city, after the zoning committee said it was violating zoning rules.
The facility was cited for the violation, but attorneys for the business tried to appeal.
Ultimately, Kansas City’s Board of Zoning Adjustments said the sober living program was in violation of city zoning rules. New Beginnings needed four votes from the board but only got three.
The facility sued the city, saying it discriminated against the business based on disabilities.
“Why you would want to create a rehab halfway house to a pre-school, an elementary school, a community park,” resident Angela Clardy said.
“We don’t want to live where there’s different people coming in at this time,” resident Bobbie Proctor said. “Maybe you’ll have seven people come in this time and then when their turn is up you have someone else coming in.”
New Beginnings Sanctuary quoted The Fair Housing Act and The Americans with Disabilities Act in the lawsuit.
The city said the owners need to rezone the facility, but the lawsuit is asking the court to make an accommodation.
The lawsuit also seeks relief, as well as damages, costs, expenses, and reasonable attorneys’ fees.
In a response, the provider’s attorney, Sarah Jane Hunt, said “As alleged in the lawsuit, Kansas City discriminated against my clients on the basis of disability when it denied their request for a reasonable accommodation to the City’s zoning code to continue the operation of Manchester House. My clients gave the City multiple opportunities to consider the request and the long line of case law on which the request was based. Unfortunately, instead of relying on the law, the City adopted the views of the opposition who testified at the zoning hearings. Per the Fair Housing Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act, people with disabilities, including individuals recovering from addiction to drugs and alcohol, have the right to live in residential neighborhoods. Local governments can not relegate these individuals to the outskirts of town under the auspices of local zoning laws. My firm looks forward to litigating this issue and to pursuing justice for my clients and the residents of the recovery home.”
FOX4 reached out to the city three times within the last several days and are waiting to hear back.