Recovery centers facing deadline

Following Newport Beach's preliminary courtroom victory against drug and alcohol treatment homes, many facilities are scrambling to comply with the city's strict new ordinance by today's deadline.

Other operators, however, are labeling the process discriminatory and are refusing to obey the court order or are grudgingly filing the required paperwork.

A federal court judge last week issued a preliminary ruling upholding much of the ordinance that Newport Beach officials passed in January, forcing about 80% of the addiction treatment centers to apply for city permits to stay open. Many residents contend that the homes are a blight on their coastal neighborhoods.

Richard Terzian, an attorney representing the largest treatment operator, Sober Living by the Sea, described the ordinance as "discriminating against the handicapped."

"Any group of college students is going to create a lot more noise, create a lot more ruckus than any of our" recovery centers, he said.

The city ordinance compels sober-living homes -- residential facilities where people receive treatment or counseling off-site -- to apply for the permits; larger state-licensed facilities with on-site treatment for more than six residents also must apply for permits.

-- Susannah Rosenblatt

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