|HUD No. 13-063
May 6, 2013
HUD AND CITY OF BARBERTON, OHIO, SETTLE DISCRIMINATION CLAIM
Prior city action denied expansion of group home for people with disabilities
WASHINGTON - The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced today that it has reached a settlement with Barberton, Ohio, a suburb of Akron, resolving allegations that the city denied a permit that would allow the owners of a group home to increase its occupancy limit from four to eight residents. The owners alleged that the city denied the permit because people with disabilities lived in the home.
The Fair Housing Act prohibits municipalities and other local government entities from making zoning or land-use decisions or implementing land-use policies that deny housing or otherwise discriminate in housing against individuals with disabilities.
"Municipal governments must make housing decisions consistent with the Fair Housing Act," said John Trasviña, HUD Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity. "We are pleased that the city has resolved this matter in a way that ensures that persons with disabilities have the right to live in neighborhoods, free from discrimination."
The case came to HUD's attention when the Fair Housing Advocates Association (FHAA), a non-profit organization based in Akron, filed a complaint on behalf of the owners of Rehoboth Group Home. FHAA's complaint alleged that Barberton's Planning Department initially stated that the home was "consistent with the Barberton Development Code" and recommended a Conditional Use Permit, but that the city's Planning Commission denied the permit due to neighborhood opposition.
Under the terms of the agreement, the city will grant the owners' request to expand the home from four residents to eight residents and will pay $4,250.
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