Ceasefire Called in Ongoing Scuffle Between Group Home and Dallas

Categories: Legal Battles

An Avalon group home in Fort Worth.
Judging by a joint filing in a federal-court scuffle between Avalon Residential Care Homes and the City of Dallas, the end may be in sight. Dallas has for years struggled to strike a balance between regulating the city's group homes without trampling their rights under federal housing laws. Safe to say it has stumbled in the past.

In this case, the operator of some 16 Alzheimer's group homes spread throughout North Texas says the city is violating the federal Fair Housing Act by enforcing a limit of eight disabled people under one roof in neighborhoods zoned for single-family homes. What the feds and Avalon fear is that these rules discourage group homes from setting up shop and render the existing ones insolvent.

This is round two of an ongoing bout between Avalon and the city. The two parties tangled back in 1997 over a group home spacing requirement. The civil rights division of the U.S. Attorney's Office stepped in, filing a brief that castigated the city for its onerous codes enforced "rigidly and in a manner blind" to the needs of the disabled.

Avalon has said the city is after payback now, a charge city attorneys deny. But, according to court docs, it looks like the city and Avalon are finally talking settlement. In a Wednesday filing, both parties agreed to take a break from discovery while Avalon seeks an amendment in the Dallas City Code to the eight-occupant cap for group homes.

"If indeed Avalon gets the text amendment, that's going to be the end of the lawsuit," said Robert Schonfeld, an Avalon attorney. He declined to say whether city attorneys had offered to help. We put in a call to city attorney Christopher Caso, but haven't heard back yet.

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the home should have very little to no impact in a residential area. With the exception of supervised walks with higher functioning residents from time to time and in small groups of 1 to 4 residents (if allowed by state regulations), or the loading of residents into a van or vehicle for Doctor appointments or an occasional field trip (again small group of 1-4 possibly more for a field trip) you would never know it was a group care home. Alzheimer is a disease that sets in during our later years in life, so the residents in the home will likely be seniors all over the age of 70 and pose little to no threat to the safety of the neighborhood or surrounding areas. I cant speak for the caregivers in Texas but at the Avalon senior care home i work at in California the safety, comfort and cleanliness of the residents is the top priority of our caregivers, Avalon pays barely enough to pay the bills so these caregivers (CNA's) aren't in it ffor the money, they are there because the love what they do. The home in question will not be a problem. Now on the other hand, its corporate Avalonthatcould be an issue. They will push every boundry to the very limit, and if not kept in check you will wake up with a twenty story hospital in your back yard.    

ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul topcommenter

I wouldn't wish Alzheimer's on my worst enemy.  My concern is that this is a commercial enterprise that is being located in a residential area.

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