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New regional task force will tackle issues with sober living and recovery homes


State Senator Patricia Bates issued a press release today about the formation of the South Orange County Sober Living and Recovery (SOCSLAR) Task Force with Mayor Wendy Bucknum as chair and Bates as co-chair following a recent regional public policy working group’s roundtable meeting that addressed challenges cities and unincorporated areas continually face with the growing number of sober living and treatment homes operating throughout south Orange County communities. 

SOCSLAR’s mission is to take the education of the expert panel and discussions with residents and public comments submitted online to determine critical pathways for possible short- and long-term policy solutions.

The recent roundtable meeting included stakeholders from several south county cities to explore opportunities for legislative remedies, ascertain policies that could be adopted through a City ordinance, and examine the successes and pitfalls of ordinances that other cities have adopted.  

The roundtable comes on the heels of two Mission Viejo public forums on May 12 and August 3 in response to numerous complaints from residents about the adverse impacts sober living and recovery homes are having on neighborhoods and to relay the results of the regional policy leader working group roundtable and formally document testimony from the public.


Submitted by William Labigan on Fri, 09/02/2022 - 9:37 am


More look what I am doing, but.... I have written to Senator Bates as well as our local Congressperson since this scourge dropped into my neighborhood over five years ago. I also reached out to the city. Here was the response I received back then. The Register article she is referring to was apiece the OC Register wrote titled the "Riviera of Rehab". Nothing has changed legislatively that is going to make things any different now.

Elaine Lister <elister@cityofmissionviejo.org>
May 24, 2017, 10:03 AM
to Wendy, me

Mr. Labigan,

Thanks for your e-mail which was forwarded to me by Mayor Bucknum. I think we have all been reading the Register articles, and yes, it is quite grim. The City has been following this subject closely for some time now and we are very aware that it is a matter of great concern to our residents. As you may know, these facilities are currently protected by state and federal law, and often the residents are considered disabled under ADA (American with Disabilities Act). Mission Viejo actively follows proposed legislation on the matter and supports efforts that would give Cities some authority to regulate these types of facility. The City also passed an Interim Zoning Ordinance that prohibits group assembly type uses in business park and commercial areas. While this ordinance includes many different uses and is not specific to drug counselling, drug counselling services are included.

Also, I want to mention that last year (March 2016) the City held a Town Hall meeting on sober living. There is some usesful information, including a detailed presentation by the City Attorney’s office. The link is: http://cityofmissionviejo.org/sites/default/files/Documents/townhall-me… I’d encourage you to write to your State Senators and Assembly Members and give them your support as they pursue legislation to regulate these facilities in residential areas. This is needed for the residents and neighborhoods but also for the people trying to get proper help.

Best regards, and please do not hesitate to call me if you have questions.

Elaine Lister

Director of Community development

(949) 470-3029

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