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The ongoing battle between neighbors, the City of West Hollywood and the high end KLEAN sober living home is now heading into the courts.

The Los Angeles Times reports that in a complaint filed late last month in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles, KLEAN West Hollywood and its landlords said the city’s actions violate the Americans With Disabilities Act, along with federal and state fair housing laws and provisions of the U.S. and state constitutions.

A nasty battle has been underway, fueled by complaints from residents of the area who don’t want people seeking drug treatment in their neighborhood, even if they are well off individuals who can afford the $28,000 monthly fee to stay at the property.  Supporters of KLEAN point out that the clients of the operation are more likely to be doctors, lawyers and celebrities than violent criminals.

One of the residents leading the fight, Norma Sandler, posed a list of questions about the operation in WeHo News back in December.  In one question, she asked, “Will the owner/city of West Hollywood/federal, be responsible if any of the clients hurts or kills anyone in the neighborhood?”

The City of West Hollywood has been looking at the situation closely, and has decided to fight KLEAN on the grounds that they are taking valuable rent controlled housing off the market. The city has requested an injunction preventing the owners from using the units to be used as short term housing in violation of rent stabilization and housing ordinances.  A hearing is scheduled today in Superior Court in Santa Monica.

The Los Angeles Times report says that since nine different apartments are involved and no more than four people will reside in each one, KLEAN is asking to be looked at as a collection of individual sober living homes rather than a single, large sober living facility.  Under state law, sober living homes and addiction treatment facilities that do not accommodate more than six people are to be treated as single family residences.  KLEAN has applied to the California Department of Alcohol and Drug Programs for licenses to operate seven treatment facilities at the site.

The city says that the units were supposed to be returned to rent controlled apartments under a 2007 agreement that was made after it was found that they were being used as an annex to the clothing optional San Vicente Inn, a gay oriented bed and breakfast.  But KLEAN’s attorney, Harry Nelson, accused the city in the statement to the Los Angeles Times of trying “to appease the NIMBY sentiments of a very small group” of residents.

City officials say that West Hollywood does not discriminate, and the case is about what is and is not a legal use of the property.  They accuse KLEAN of being motivated by profit more than a desire to protect disabled people.  Despite the expensive standard rates being charged at KLEAN, the operation told the Times in an email that they plan to set aside 10% of their beds to be used by West Hollywood residents at no charge.

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