The Burbank City Council may consider a temporary ordinance that would prohibit unlicensed supportive housing facilities in single-family residential areas per the public’s request, after dozens of residents in recent weeks have asked the council members to take immediate action on the issue.
In January, the council approved its state-required housing element to allow supportive housing in residential neighborhoods without permits. This may include sober-living and drug rehabilitation facilities, but city officials said the city is under no obligation to allow transitional housing for parolees, probationers or sex offenders.
The city has three years to implement the policy document through council-approved ordinances.
According to the housing element, if six or fewer people live in the home, the facility would be considered a “standard residential use” and, therefore, would not have to obtain a permit.
This hasn’t sat well with members of the community group Save Burbank Neighborhoods, who are worried that group homes would increase crime and traffic congestion, and decrease property values. Plus, the lack of regulations make them prone to abuse, neighbors said.
“They do not have to register with the city, there’s no oversight, no regulation — no one knows that they’re there,” said resident Julie Fisher, who is a member of Save Burbank Neighborhoods. “We just want a few regulations in place to protect our neighborhoods.”
She and many others have come to City Hall week after week to voice their opposition and suggest ways the council can protect their neighborhoods.
One of those suggestions was for the council to implement a temporary ordinance prohibiting the facilities in single-family neighborhoods until a more extensive, permanent ordinance is drafted — an idea that’s expected to come back for further discussion.
City officials are also working with state legislators to seek regulations that would require licensing for group homes, establish operational standards for them and set “concentration limits” to avoid too many group homes in the same block or neighborhood, according to a city staff report.
The city also may hire an expert to facilitate local efforts to regulate the facilities.