There are three ways that municipalities and their land use boards may violate the civil rights acts which are the subject of this blog.[1]  (See post #2 for a discussion of the subject acts.)

  1. They may engage in “disparate treatment.” In other words, intentional discrimination.
  2. Their actions may have a “disparate impact” upon the handicapped.
  3. They have failed to make a reasonable accommodation in land use regulations and practices so as to allow the handicapped to reside in communities of choice. In layman’s words, they have failed to grant a variance.

Although disparate treatment is often encountered, failures to make reasonable accommodation are far more frequently the basis for successful claims for relief.  Claims of disparate impact are less often a basis for relief and require more complicated proofs.  Each of these bases for relief, and the ability to recover counsel fees, will be discussed in greater detail in subsequent posts.

Thanks, Steve

——————————

[1] Gamble v. City of Escondido, 104 F.3d 300 (9th Cir. 1997)