Garner seeks to settle suit over halfway house
Posted January 10, 2011
Garner, N.C. — Garner has agreed to pay $114,000 to settle a suit with the U.S. Justice Department over the town's refusal to increase the capacity of a halfway house for recovering addicts, authorities said Monday.
The government sued Garner and the town's Board of Adjustment in May 2009 after officials refused to consider requests from Oxford House Inc., the nonprofit that runs the halfway house, to increase the number of men allowed to stay there from six to eight.
The suit alleged the town violated the Fair Housing Act, which requires that reasonable accommodations be made for people with disabilities, including addictions.
The settlement, which must be approved by a federal judge, includes a $105,000 payment to Oxford House and $9,000 to the government as a civil penalty. Garner also must allow up to eight men at the halfway house, authorities said.
In connection with the proposed settlement, Garner officials last month amended the town's zoning code to establish a procedure to address future requests for reasonable accommodations under the Fair Housing Act.