Broomfield Sober Living Home Will Not Face Zoning Violation
Broomfield officials will not enforce the zoning violation against Denver Recovery Center, a sober living home that residents said moved into the Broadlands in late January.
Broomfield Code Compliance Manager Kirk Oglesby said on Jan. 31 his office began receiving citizen complaints and questions about a possible recovery center moving into a house at 4444 Fairway Lane. Residents reported people moving multiple twin mattresses into the house. When neighbors inquired, they were told it was for men who are going through recovery from drugs and alcohol.
On Feb. 2, the office issued a notice of zoning violation to the center, which has an office at 295 Interlocken Blvd, Suite 400. It was based on a portion of the Broomfield Municipal Code that states that only three non-related people can occupy a home.
On Thursday, Interim City and County Attorney Patricia Gilbert said her office gave their legal opinion to Broomfield City Council earlier this week.
“Our direction at this time is that we are not going to enforce against the Denver Recover Center,” Gilbert said. “We’re not going to issue a summons and complaint.”
Anti-discrimination and fair-housing laws provide protections to sober-living homes and stymie efforts by cities to restrict them through zoning laws, according to a March 11 Denver Post article .
In Colorado, much of the industry is unregulated. Colorado does not require a license for sober-living homes or for substance-abuse treatment facilities that don’t bill Medicaid or partner with the criminal justice system or administer replacement drugs like methadone, the article states. Those standards leave a loophole since rehab operators can choose to bill only private insurers or have people dig into their own pockets to pay for care.
Colorado officials say they have no idea how many unlicensed rehab facilities exist in Colorado. A lucrative industry is sprouting up in exclusive, wealthy suburban neighborhoods, often without the benefit of any state oversight or inspections.
The Affordable Care Act, which bars insurers from discriminating against the mentally ill and those struggling with drug addiction, has created a huge incentive for the recovery industry.
At the Feb. 13 Broomfield City Council meeting, several residents voiced their opposition to the center coming into the residential neighborhood.
Property owners deferred comment about the lease arrangement with the company until they spoke with them.
Jason Bordonaro with the Denver Recovery Center did not respond to requests for comment in February or this week.
Jennifer Rios: 303-473-1361, firstname.lastname@example.org or Twitter.com/Jennifer_Rios