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City of Prescott Approves Group Home Regulations at Special Meeting

Thursday, September 19, 2013

The Prescott City Council adopted amendments to the Land Development Code related to "community residences" at a special meeting today. The amendments, approved with an emergency clause, are effective immediately.

The primary intent of these amendments is to encourage dispersal of congregate living arrangements, amending the definition of "family" and adding a definition of "single housekeeping unit". Additionally, the amendments revise the definition of "community residences" and create appropriate development standards for them.

Major Provisions

  • Changes from eight to six the number of unrelated persons living together in a single-family dwelling.

  • Residences with seven people or more occupying them will be required to have a conditional use permit in multi-family zoning districts, and they must also meet development standards.

  • Establishes a 1,200 foot buffer zone between community residences.

  • Provides for additional regulation of community residences for the use of the premises, state licensure requirements, traffic and parking, smoking restrictions and compliance with building and fire codes.

  • Requires the City to create an application and appeals process along with enforcement policies to implement these changes.

  • These provisions only apply to new occupancies established after the September 19, 2013 effective date.

  • Contains an emergency clause making it effective immediately.

Enforcement of these provisions, effective today, will consist of the following:

  • New community residences must apply for a permit, or if necessary a conditional use permit, from the City Community Development Department.

  • Community residences that have existed legally, but will no longer conform to the Land Development Code, as amended by the ordinance adopted September 19, 2013, have 60 days to register their status. Failure to register with the City places the burden of proof on the property owner to demonstrate that it was legally operating before the code change.

  • The Police Department will actively assist in the implementation of the new requirements regarding unlawful activities such as drug use, traffic issues, etc.

  • The City Finance Department will be reviewing permits for compliance with privilege tax obligations.

  • An ad hoc task force/advisory group is anticipated to monitor the progress of the new requirements.

To strengthen this process, the City will also be exploring options to create an annual business license.

For more information, contact Tom Guice, Director of Community Development at 928-777-1317.