The United States Attorney’s office has signed off on a settlement agreement with Ansonia that removes discriminatory language from the city’s zoning regulations.
Ansonia’s former zoning regulations violated the Americans with Disabilities Act because the city prevented “clinics for the insane, alcoholics and drug addicts.”
The issue was brought to light in 2010, when Recovery Network of Programs announced it wanted to put a substance abuse clinic in an office at 158 Main St.
Before any formal application was filed, Ansonia said the clinic would not be allowed because of the zoning language.
Ansonia city officials approved the settlement agreement on March 13.
Friday, the U.S. Attorney’s office announced that it had approved the agreement and signed it.
“The U.S. Department of Justice is committed to ensuring that all individuals receive equal treatment under the law,” stated U.S. Attorney David B. 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.”
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 Recovery Network of Programs, which had initially complained to the Department of Justice about the city’s zoning regulation.
Recovery Network of Programs has said it still wants to open a clinic in Ansonia, now that the agreement is signed.
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.