Recovery house suit advances

WARREN — A lawsuit filed by Warren Township trustees and the township zoning inspector against a drug and alcohol addiction recovery house in the township will proceed after a Trumbull County Common Pleas Court judge dismissed a motion to dismiss the suit, according to court documents.

Judge Peter J. Kontos denied the motion to dismiss the suit, which was filed by attorneys for FSSH Holdings II LLC, owners of a recovery house at 4015 Leavitt Drive.

The company claimed using the home as a recovery house is protected by the federal Fair Housing Act and the Ohio Fair Housing Act, because the act considers recovery from drug addiction and alcoholism a “physical or mental impairment” and prevents people from being denied housing because of it, the motion to dismiss states.

However, attorneys for the township trustees and zoning inspector argued the house is being used for transient purposes and is not protected from zoning regulations by the laws cited.

“It is not clear that the residents meet the criteria, i.e., is their condition caused by current illegal use of a controlled substance? Moreover, the FHA does not define a ‘residence’ and the plaintiff raises a controversy regarding whether the nature of the housing in this property constitutes a residence for purposes of the FHA,” Kontos states in his ruling to proceed with the case.

The property was zoned and historically used for single-family occupancy. Now, five to 10 unrelated people are living in the house for around 30 days, while receiving treatment for addiction issues.

The company, known as FSR Parkman, operates the home and a 16-bed detoxification and addiction treatment center at 4930 Enterprise Drive NW. The people live in the recovery house, but spend most of the day in treatment programs at the Enterprise Drive location. They do not receive treatment at the house.

The company contends the length of the stay to qualify for the protection doesn’t matter because the length of the stay is dependent on individual progress and the clients are not limited to certain lengths of stay. The company also contends the township didn’t follow proper procedures while trying to address issues with the recovery house.

A status conference is scheduled for Dec. 13, according to court records.