Political Landscape: Assemblyman proposes bill to regulate sober-living homes

Political Landscape: Assemblyman proposes bill to regulate sober-living homes
Coastline Recovery at 8301 Yorktown Ave. was one of five locations that Huntington Beach sued last year on allegations of operating illegally. (File Photo)

As some cities struggle to set regulations on sober-living homes, state Assemblyman Tom Daly (D-Anaheim) has introduced a bill he contends would establish operating standards for residences that are protected by federal and state housing and antidiscrimination laws.

Assembly Bill 1779, introduced Feb. 22, would require the California Department of Public Health to adopt practices developed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to help limit neighborhood nuisances. Sober-living homes seeking to receive local funding would be prohibited from referring people to residences that haven’t agreed to abide by the standards.


“Recovery residences are one stop along a lengthy process for people seeking to emerge from drug or alcohol addiction,” Daly said in a statement. “But unlike residential treatment facilities, which are subject to licensure by the state, recovery residences are private apartments or houses that are not licensed or regulated” if they have six or fewer residents.

Huntington Beach partnered last year with the Orange County district attorney’s office to crack down on illegal in-home businesses. The city filed lawsuits in October against five locations it alleged were residential alcohol or drug rehabilitation facilities operating without proper permitting, violating California’s civil code and the city’s municipal code.


Two of the five cases were dismissed in January after David and Andrea Lacy and Anthony Roxstrom agreed to end illegal activity on their properties, according to City Atty. Michael Gates.

Coastline Recovery at 8301 Yorktown Ave. is seeking a license from the Department of Health Care Services and, if obtained, the city will drop its lawsuit, Gates said in an email. He said suits also may be dropped against StepHouse Recovery Inc. at 10412 Christmas Drive and South Coast Counseling Inc. at 10321 Christmas Drive, depending on how they proceed.

Officials in neighboring Costa Mesa have for years grappled with issues surrounding sober-living homes.

In a bid to prevent such facilities from clustering, the City Council adopted ordinances requiring that group homes, licensed alcohol and drug treatment facilities and sober-living homes be at least 650 feet from one another in residential areas.

The regulations drew a legal challenge from sober-living home operators who alleged unfair discrimination against people recovering from alcohol or drug addiction. An eight-person jury unanimously rejected that claim in December.

A fresh start for Newport pension debt

The Newport Beach City Council unanimously agreed this week to restructure the city’s unfunded pension liability in a bid to pay off about $320 million in unfunded pension obligations within 15 years and save about $45 million in interest.

The commitment, similar to one the city made in 2013, does not directly affect the discretionary payments of about $9 million a year the city makes on top of its compulsory payments to the California Public Employees’ Retirement System. Nor does it affect pension debt racked up going forward — only the $320 million the city currently owes.

The city will pay $35 million per year for 14 years, then $22.8 million in the 15th year — a total of nearly $513 million, including the $320 million principal and an additional $193 million in interest.

Without a locked interest rate, Newport could end up paying $558 million overall on the $320-million liability.

“It’s a really big deal,” said Mayor Pro Tem Will O’Neill, a pension hawk who also chairs the city Finance Committee. “It’s really hard to explain how big a deal this really is, but when you start seeing numbers like that I think it [gives] a better understanding.”

Newport Women’s Democratic Club to present speakers

The Newport Beach Women’s Democratic Club will have its monthly meeting at 6 p.m. Tuesday in Room 2 at the Oasis Senior Center, 801 Narcissus Ave., Corona del Mar.

Guest speakers will be Susan Parks, chief executive of Orange County United Way, and Mary Navarro, who will speak about early childhood education.

Doors will open at 5:30 p.m. for refreshments and networking. Admission is $15 general, $10 with an RSVP and free for club members.

To RSVP, visit or call (949) 423-6468.