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Sober Living Homes Face Tougher Regulations In OC

We always make a point to share informative news involving the recovery industry, particularly if they relate to our region of Southern California. Well, per The Orange County Register, there are some important new updates to consider. Throughout that area (and Costa Mesa, in general) a slew of regulations have just been passed impacting those who operate sober living facilities.

Dubbed “good neighbor” policies, the latest rules only allow for six residents within a standard OC recovery home. Those who intend to house more will be required to file for a permit. These houses will now also have to be at least 650 feet apart from one another. Furthermore, anyone operating such a facility will have to have at least one full year of sobriety.

That, of course, is only the beginning. Each Orange County-based home will have to have an active manager on duty 24 hours a day. Alcohol and non-prescription drugs will be prohibited at all times from these facilities (as they should) and no visitors are allowed to enter the premises if they are under the influence.

Orange County Supervisor Don Wagner spoke to the press about these latest initiatives, emphasizing that he wants local neighborhoods protected.

“These new rules protect the neighbors who are out there concerned about the changing neighborhoods in which they’re raising their families,” Wagner explained. “The courts have said that’s a very viable concern, and we have the right, as representatives of those citizens, to consider that in making our decisions. The character of a neighborhood matters.

Afterwards, he did still show some compassion for those struggling to get clean.

“But there is a countervailing consideration which I think this ordinance takes very well into consideration — that there are men and women out there trying to put their lives back together, learning to live in an environment that respects rules, rights, neighbors,” Wagner added.

Though most locals were content with the changes, some felt there was still more to be done. Several OC neighborhood councils pushed for the distance between sober living homes to be 1,000 feet vs. 650.

In total, Orange County has more than 420 addiction treatment centers within its region. Los Angeles County, by comparison, has 494 (though with a much larger population of citizens). Though that may seem sizable, it is important to note that addiction totals throughout our state range in the millions. So, as much as we believe in regulations, we also know how important these facilities truly are.