Oxford House, Inc. v. Town of Babylon

819 F. Supp. 1179 (1993)

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Oxford House, Inc. v. Town of Babylon

United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York
819 F. Supp. 1179 (1993)

Facts

Oxford House, Inc. (plaintiff) was a group home for men recovering from drug and alcohol addiction. Gary and Geri Erichson (plaintiffs) leased a house in the Town of Babylon (defendant) on behalf of Oxford House so that its residents could recover in a community setting. The town had zoned the neighborhood where Oxford House was located for single-family dwellings only to preserve the neighborhood’s residential character. The town’s zoning ordinance restricted residents to family members related by kinship, blood, adoption, or marriage. Residents could also be members of the functional equivalent to a family if the unit bore characteristics of a family, including nontransience. Some town residents objected to Oxford House being in their neighborhood and convened a town meeting in protest. Soon after, the town’s attorney notified Oxford House that it was in violation of the town’s ordinance. Oxford House requested a reasonable accommodation in application of the ordinance, pointing to the need of its recovering residents of a stable, affordable, and drug-free living environment to maintain sobriety. The town refused the request for accommodation although, as five officials noted, Oxford House was well-maintained and there had been no substantial complaints within the year that it had been in the neighborhood. The town then began eviction proceedings. The same day, Oxford House filed suit in a United States district court to enjoin the town from carrying out the eviction, alleging that the town’s ordinance violated the Fair Housing Act (FHA).

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Wexler, J.)

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