U.S. ATTORNEY’S OFFICE REACHES AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT SETTLEMENT WITH CITY OF ANSONIA
United States Attorney David B. Fein today announced a settlement agreement with the City of Ansonia to resolve allegations that the City’s zoning regulations discriminated against individuals with mental disabilities and/or addiction issues.
“The U.S. Department of Justice is committed to ensuring that all individuals receive equal treatment under the law,” stated U.S. Attorney Fein. “We commend the City of Ansonia for dealing with this serious issue, which affects so many members of our community, and we hope that this agreement alerts other cities and towns about their responsibilities under the Americans with Disabilities Act.”
In August 2010, Recovery Network of Programs (“RNP”), a medical provider of methadone clinics, sought to relocate a clinic to Ansonia to provide centralized treatment and counseling services to its clients. At that time, RNP was serving approximately 250 clients, predominately individuals with opiate addictions, in Ansonia and the surrounding Naugatuck Valley. RNP leased a location at 158 Main Street in Ansonia. As the location was covered by Schedule B of Ansonia’s zoning code, which expressly excluded clinics for the “insane, alcoholics and drug addicts,” the City denied RNP’s building permit.
Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability, including mental disabilities and/or addiction issues, and requires municipalities and states to make reasonable modifications to policies, practices and procedures to afford individuals with disabilities equal treatment under the law.
Under the settlement agreement, Ansonia agreed to change its zoning regulations. The City also agreed, for the next three years, to provide copies of the settlement agreement to all Aldermen, members of the Planning and Zoning Commission, and management-level employees of the Zoning Department and the Building Department. Finally, the City agreed not to retaliate against RNP, which had initially complained to the Department of Justice about the City’s zoning regulation.
This matter was handled by Assistant United States Attorneys David C. Nelson and Lauren M. Nash, in coordination with the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division.
Additional information about the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department is available on its website at www.justice.gov/crt
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