This letter is in response to the recent article in the Independent that was submitted by Lisa Gray, Sun City Home Owners Association general manager.
The issue Ms. Gray was addressing was the construction of a group home that is in the process of being constructed along West Cherry Tree Lane in Sun City. This group home has approved permits issued by Maricopa County for a home with 10 bedrooms, two bathrooms, and two powder rooms. It will house 10 residents, possibly more, and is being built on the property zoned for single-family dwellings.
When a home is bought in Sun City, the new owners are given a copy of the rules and regulations. This document is signed by the new owner. Every person that moves into Sun City is given a copy of the rules and pays $3,500 to the community to maintain the integrity of the city. This is fully explained at the closing of each sale.
Below is a quote from a recent letter sent by SCHOA:
“Like any housing community, SCHOA has limitations on how it can address or regulate group homes that are protected by the Fair Housing Act (both state and federal). Homes that are protected by the Fair Housing Act include those that house persons who would be considered disabled under the fair housing laws. This includes homes that would house seniors with Alzheimer’s, other neurological conditions or with other physical ailments that substantially limit one or more major life activities, have a record of such impairment, or are regarded as having that type of impairment. Disability also includes those recovering from drug or alcohol abuse. But persons who pose a direct threat to people or property are not protected under the fair housing laws, even if disabled.”
Please know that we are not trying to change that law or requirement. In fact, we support it. But also note that in the above quote, a group home is not mentioned. According to the above quote, the HOA rules specifically prohibit such dwellings. Following the HOA regulations is not mutually exclusive.
The HOA rules call for single-family homes, with one person on the title being the age of 55 or older and living on the premises. No resident can be under 19 years old. Has this rule changed?
Again, a 10-bedroom group home where not all are family members is not within the Fair Housing Act rule requirements and is absolutely counter to the HOA rules that have been established for Sun City since its inception. Again, these rules are agreed upon by all who purchase homes here — and we assume that includes the owner of the proposed group home.
SCHOA has taken the position that they can do nothing to protect our lifestyle. We question that. Can they really expect our community to accept their “stand back and wait for something or someone to break one of the HOA’s rules” before they address this issue with more than a letter?
Are they holding the new owner of the property to the same rules and regulations that the rest of the Sun City residents must adhere to? Will the new owner even be living on the premises or is this just a “rental,” and therefore a business that is being run out of the house?
Another issue is that for a property to be rezoned — if this is a rezoning situation — it is required that the public be notified. That was never done.
Ms. Gray’s letter left so many unanswered questions. Of course, the first place one would turn to for answers is our homeowner’s governing body. Unfortunately, this was not the case in this matter.
In summary, we again stress that we are not opposed to the rules and regulations of the Fair Housing Act. There are people who benefit from the Fair Housing Act already living in Sun City with no opposition. We watch out for those people as neighbors and protectors — not opposers.
Where does the fair housing act specify that 10-bedroom homes in single-family room neighborhoods must be permitted? If there is such a clause in the act, we have the right to question, oppose and fight the regulation which we would expect our SCHOA board to support pursuant to this issue.