Tuesday night was the final night for the public to share their support or concern with Boynton Beach’s elected officials about the city’s moratorium on new group homes, including sober homes.
The city commissioners first approved the moratorium Dec. 6, which is when it went into effect. The city has held public hearings since. The final hearing was Tuesday, and the commission voted to continue with the ban. The moratorium ends June 4, according to city documents.
At the meeting, one resident spoke against the moratorium and one spoke in favor of it.
The resident who was against it said it violates the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Mayor Steve Grant, an attorney, responded and said it doesn’t.
“This does not discriminate because it’s a business that we’re going against. Not anyone who is an addict. It’s against the business owner that is trying to come into Boynton Beach and effect the residential nature of Boynton Beach,” Grant said.
Boynton Beach City Attorney Jim Cherof also said the city is within its legal rights to do this.
The city’s staff requested the temporary halt on new group homes to have time to review the updated guidelines pertaining to group homes released Nov. 10 by the federal departments of Justice and Housing and Urban Development, and see whether changes need to be made to city regulations.
Residents and elected officials throughout Palm Beach County have voiced frustration with sober homes opening up in their residential neighborhoods. Grant said in some cases a sober home has 10 people living in it only a few houses away from another sober home with the same amount of residents.
Boynton is the first municipality to introduce a moratorium and has received both praise and criticism for doing so. In December, Delray Beach Mayor Cary Glickstein said the move was unconstitutional and won’t survive a legal challenge. Just this week, Delray officials agreed to hire Illinois-based attorney Daniel Lauber, an expert on group home legislation, to consult on expected sober home regulations.