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    Councilors OK registration of ‘sober houses’

    The Quincy City Council has voted in favor of setting up a registration system for so-called sober houses, which operate in several residential neighborhoods in the city.

    The council voted 8-1 on Oct. 16 to require house operators to register with the city with contact information for the owner and operator and the home’s management plan, and to provide adequate parking for residents. With the ordinance, the city has the right to deny the registration under several circumstances, such as providing misleading information.

    Sober houses are residences where people abstaining from drugs and alcohol live as part of their addiction recovery. The state offers a voluntary certification program for operators of sober houses, and some Quincy residents have raised concerns that such houses have operated in their neighborhoods without their knowledge.


    The federal government prohibits regulation of these houses, and the City Council voted to register, not license, them in an effort to keep the ordinance within the bounds of the law.

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    Jay Duca, the city’s director of inspectional services, outlined the federal protections in a June 5 memo, stating that the Federal Fair Housing Amendments Act and state laws limit the types of regulation on these residences and stated that they may not be treated differently than other residential homes.

    Councilor Brian Palmucci, who sponsored the ordinance, said that he’s been supportive of sober houses in the past, but that they need to be located and run appropriately to be effective.

    Jill Terreri Ramos can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @jillterreri.