Community Residences (Group Homes)

Community Residence.  A community residence is a residential living arrangement where individuals live as a family in a single dwelling unit who are in need of the mutual support furnished by other residents of the community residence as well as the support services, if any, provided by the staff of the community residence. Residents may be self-governing or supervised by a sponsoring entity or its staff, which provides habilitative or rehabilitative services related to the residents' disabilities. A community residence seeks to emulate a biological family to foster normalization of its residents and integrate them into the surrounding community.  Its primary purpose is to provide shelter in a family-like environment.  Medical treatment is incidental as in any home.  Supportive inter-relationships between residents are an essential component.  Community residence includes sober living homes and assisted living homes but does not include any other group living arrangement for unrelated individuals who are not disabled nor any shelter, rooming house, boarding house or transient occupancy.

Family Community Residence.  A community residence with five (5) to eight (8) beds, including resident staff that is a relatively permanent living arrangement with no limit on the length of tenancy as determined in practice or by the rules, charter, or other governing documents of the community residence.  The minimum length of tenancy is typically a year or longer.

Transitional Community Residence.  A community residence with five (5) to six (6) beds, including resident staff, that provides a relatively temporary living arrangement with a limit on length of tenancy more than thirty (30) days and less than a year, as determined either in practice or by the rules, charter, or other governing document of the community residence.

Are group homes for the handicapped and sober living homes allowed in Fountain Hills?  Yes.  In order to operate in the Town, the operator of the home must register the home. A business license may also be required.  

How do I register a home?  Go on line to www.fountainhillsaz.gov/TOPPS to create an account and register the home.  There is a $350 filing fee to process the registration, and $250 annual renewal fee.

How do I obtain a business license?  Applications for a business license are available through the Town’s website.  There is a $50 filing fee and the licenses are typically issued within ten days.

How many residents can live in a group home?  The minimum threshold for a home to be considered a group home is to have at least five residents.  The maximum number of residents varies between 6 and 8 depending on the type of home as described above.

Where can these homes be located?  Because of Federal Fair Housing Laws, these types of homes are generally permitted in any residential zoning district, subject to reasonable zoning and other restrictions to ensure residents’ safety and welfare.  

Are there any local requirements or regulations?  The full requirements are provided in Section 5.13 of the Town’s Zoning Ordinance (provide a link). In order to prevent group homes from becoming overly concentrated, there is a minimum separation requirement of 1,200 feet between homes.  Group homes are inspected by the Fire Marshal and the Building Official to ensure all life safety code requirements are met.

Are there any special rules for Sober Living Homes?  The State of Arizona has enacted legislation to govern sober living homes.  ARS 36-2061 et. seq. contain the State’s regulations regarding this type of group home.

Sober Living Home and Detox Facility Fact Sheet

To register: Town's Online Permitting and Planning System   Access TOPPS