Tuesday, December 24, 2013

City of Edmonds v. Oxford House, Inc. case brief

City of Edmonds v. Oxford House, Inc. case brief summary
514 U.S. 725 (1995)

CASE SYNOPSIS
Petitioner sought review of decision from the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, which reversed a holding that a city zoning code's family definition rule was exempt from the Fair Housing Act. That decision conflicted with another court of appeals' decision declaring a similar family definition provision exempt. Certiorari was granted to resolve the conflict.

CASE FACTS
Respondent opened a group home for 10 to 12 adults recovering from alcoholism and drug addiction located in a neighborhood zoned for single-family residences. Under a zoning rule, occupants had to be a "family," and family meant an individual or two or more persons related by genetics, adoption, or marriage, or a group of five or fewer persons who are not related by genetics, adoption, or marriage. Petitioner city sued the group home seeking a declaration that the zoning code family definition rule was exempt from the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C.S. § 3601 et seq. The Act prohibited discrimination in housing against persons with handicaps. Section 3607(b)(1) exempted from the Act any reasonable local, state, or federal restrictions regarding the maximum number of occupants permitted to occupy a dwelling.

ISSUE
The sole question was whether the family composition rule qualified as a maximum occupancy restriction.

HOLDING
The court held that the zoning provisions were classic examples of a use restriction and complementing family composition rule and that this zoning code provision describing who could compose a "family" was not a maximum occupancy restriction exempt from the Act.

CONCLUSION
The judgment was affirmed because the city's zoning code provision describing who may compose a "The case was remanded for a decision as to whether the city's actions violated the Fair Housing Act's prohibitions against discrimination.

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