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Commonwealth's Counties

Bill defining “certified recovery residence” overrides local zoning ordinances passes in house committee; senate version does not

HB 277 (Coyner) amends the standards for credentialing of a “certified recovery residence” to require disclosure to “each prospective resident whether the recovery residence is a certified recovery residence” adhering to the credentialing standards of the National Alliance for Recovery Residences or that of Oxford House, Inc. The proposal also provides that such residences shall constitute residential occupancy by a single family for zoning purposes, regardless of the number of persons residing in the certified recovery residence. Specifically, this provision states:

Zoning ordinances for all purposes shall consider a certified recovery residence, as defined in § 37.2-431.1, in which individuals with substance abuse disorder reside, either with or without one or more resident or nonresident staff persons, and in which a certifying entity verifies 50 square feet per bed per sleeping room as residential occupancy by a single family. No conditions more restrictive than those imposed on residences occupied by persons related by blood, marriage, or adoption shall be imposed on such certified recovery residence.

VACo is concerned that this provision severely limits the ability of counties to address the associated land use impacts of an unlimited number of residents in a proposed facility. The bill passed in the Counties, Cities and Towns Committee and is now headed to the house floor for further consideration.

It is important to note that the senate version this bill, SB 622 (Favola), does not include this language overriding local zoning authority. SB 622 passed Rehabilitation and Social Services Committee and now on the senate floor.

VACo Contact: Joe Lerch, AICP

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