Council decides more study needed regarding group home issue

The Burbank City Council on Tuesday continued the discussion on how to effectively and legally regulate group homes in residential neighborhoods, ultimately requesting that city staff bring back more information on a number of ideas generated by councilmembers, residents and a land-use expert.

The issue has caused a stir in Burbank since the city adopted its state-required housing element in January to allow community care facilities — which may include sober-living facilities that don’t require licensing — in single-family residential neighborhoods to comply with state law.

At a community meeting on Monday, land-use law expert Barbara Kautz advised the public and city officials they explore neutral, nondiscriminatory standards to ensure the homes are managed properly while still being compliant with fair-housing laws, as well as more clearly define what constitutes a household versus a boarding home.

Councilman David Gordon on Tuesday pushed for a moratorium on major home expansions, which would prohibit homebuyers from, say, converting a three-bedroom home into a six-bedroom one to give city officials time to draft more robust regulations, an idea City Manager Mark Scott called “clever.”

But Mayor Emily Gabel-Luddy argued that the idea was no more than an anti-mansionization ordinance that wouldn’t address the larger issue of group homes in residential areas.

Ultimately, the council – in a unanimous vote – requested further details on what a moratorium would look like, as well as information on how to implement some of Kautz’s suggestions.

-- Alene Tchekmedyian, 

Follow on Google+ and on Twitter: @atchek.

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