Settlement Agreement

 Read MoreSummary of Settlement Agreement

  1. Modifies the City’s zoning ordinance to ensure compliance with existing law, specifically the Fair Housing Act and Americans with Disabilities Act.
  2. Creates a clear process for persons with a disability to request a reasonable accommodation; City staff will be trained on Fair Housing requirements.
  3. Through a competitive process the City will fund at least one permanent supportive housing project.
  4. Ability Housing will be provided $400,000 to reimburse a portion of out-of-pocket costs and legal expenses; Ability Housing total losses and costs are over $2,000,000.

Facts

The overlay will still exist. it merely removes the blanket prohibition of 6 specific uses that by definition serve persons with a disability • The Springfield Overlay will be amended so that these 6 specific uses will follow the same zoning requirements in Springfield as they do in all other areas of Jacksonville • The six uses are: nursing homes, housing for the elderly, group care homes, community residential homes of seven or more residents, residential treatment facilities and hospice facilities
New rooming houses would continue to be prohibited. A set of conditions (characteristics) used to determine whether a building may be a rooming house in Springfield would be deleted and functionally replaced by a revised, citywide definition of rooming houses. The revised definition of rooming houses identifies differences between rooming houses and dwelling units.
• Prohibiting housing discrimination against persons with disabilities; • Prohibiting the refusal to make reasonable accommodation in the application of City rules, practices or services where such accommodation are necessary to afford a person with disabilities an equal opportunity to use or enjoy a dwelling; • Prohibiting the maintenance, enforcement or implementation of land use regulations which discriminate against persons with disabilities; • Prohibiting coercion or other interference with persons in the exercise of their rights under the Fair Housing Act or Americans with Disabilities Act; • Requiring City to rescind prior written interpretation concluding that Ability Housing’s previously contemplated use was prohibited; and • Prohibiting the City from determining that any individual or entity is ineligible for City funds on the basis that such person or entity made a claim that the City violated its civil rights.
• Enact ordinance substantially similar to a proposed draft that is attached to the Settlement Agreement between Disability Rights Florida, Inc. and Ability Housing, Inc. • Adopt a reasonable accommodations policy for accommodations from the Zoning Code. • Designate a Fair Housing Compliance Officer. • Require Fair Housing and ADA training for all City officers, elected and appointed officials and employees with duties related to the planning, zoning, permitting, construction, code enforcement, or occupancy of housing, including the Mayor, City Council, Planning Commissioners, and members of the Certificate of Use Board. • File biannual compliance reports with the US DOJ. • Pay $25,000 penalty to the United States Treasury. • Pay Disability Rights Florida and Ability Housing the amounts specified in the Settlement Agreement. • Award a $1.5 Million grant for development of permanent supportive housing for persons with disabilities, within 1 year following dismissal of the actions brought by Ability Housing and Disability Rights Florida.
The zoning change clarifies that a person with a disability may receive support services in their home without the use of their home being anything but residential.

Recent Coverage of the Settlement Agreement

February 17, 2017 Editorial: Settling discrimination suit is the right move Read More @The Times Union
February 23, 2017 Planning Commission Approves Springfield Zoning Changes Following DOJ Lawsuit Read More @News WJCT
February 27, 2017 Springfield Residents Urge City To Take Ability Housing Fight To Court Read More @News WJCT
February 28, 2017 Settlement agreement heads to council that will impact Jacksonville zoning Read More @Jacksonville Business Journal
March 1, 2017 Changes to zoning laws, Historic Springfield draws dozens to City Council Read More @Jacksonville Business Journal
March 23, 2017 Thursday’s Editorial: City Council needs to approve Ability Housing settlement Read More @The Times Union
March 23, 2017 Settlement triggers confusion Read More @ The Daily Record
April 11, 2017 Springfield Overlay zoning change legislation draws scrutiny in public notice meeting Read More @ The Florida Politics
April 22, 2017 Settlement on housing suit hits a snag Read More @ The Times Union
May 23, 2017 City Council OKs housing discrimination lawsuit with Justice Department Read More @ The Times Union

 

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