NIMBY, autonomy, zoning, group home, New York zoning, mental health, residential, residence, local government, community home, elderly, mentally ill, disabled, affordable housing, special needs, Pavadan, Fair Housing, Rehabilitation Act, disability


Group homes represent a non-traditional alternative to single family living. The advent of the group home has taken place since the 1970s for a number of reasons, namely, due to a severe shortage in affordable housing, particularly for newly employed young adults and the elderly, due to public policy considerations calling for deinstitutionalization of the developmentally disabled and mentally ill, and finally due to a growing need for congregate type living arrangements for other special needs populations. Part I of the article explores the framework of the New York State zoning authority and the methods by which municipalities regulate the siting of group homes. Part II discusses the preemptory effect and limitations of the Pavadan Law in the siting of group homes Part III examines the impact of federal laws on the siting of group homes, particularly in the context of discrimination against the disabled, namely the Federal Fair Housing Act, the Rehabilitation Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act. Part IV summarizes the effect of federal and state legislation on local land-use regulation pertaining to group homes. Finally, the article concludes that dispite continuing the notion of "Not In My Back Yard" (NIMBY), group home advocates have developed a solid foundation to challenge discriminatory zoning laws and practices that resulte in the exclusion of group homes from communities.

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