Multi-million dollar sober houses will stay open in Delray Beach

City settles with Caron Foundation, avoids lawsuit

DELRAY BEACH, Fla. - Two multi-million dollar homes near Ocean Avenue will continue to house more than a dozen drug and alcohol addicts during recovery in Delray Beach.

But they weren't welcomed with open arms. Neighbors argued this type of transient housing doesn't belong among single-family homes.
"I don't think it's fair to plunk down in the middle of single family homes where kids are, and old ladies like me are walking their dogs," says Lucy Kizirian.
Back in February, the city tightened laws preventing the Caron Foundation from opening its second facility. But Caron fought back and sued, claiming the Fair Housing Act and American's with Disabilities Act had been violated.
Months of discussion between city attorneys and Caron representatives came to a head with an agreement.
"It'd be unlikely the city would prevail and the city could be on the hook for up to one million dollars in legal fees for the other side," says Adam Frankel, Delray Beach City Commissioner.
In the settlement Caron agreed: Not to open any other facilities, keep no more than 8 people in each home, and pay property taxes, which isn't required for other non-profit organizations.
"I feel they should have to pay school taxes, but I guess you settle for what you can get," says Kizirian.
Caron knows it's not welcome, so the settlement allows the organization to move to a new house, once.
"Because of the opposition from neighbors, there's consideration by Caron to relocate that facility," says Commissioner Frankel.
Caron representatives declined to comment about the settlement before it's official. The city will discuss it Tuesday night, and it could be finalized by a judge within days.
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