The owner of a proposed sober living house for women announced she was dropping plans to open a facility on San Nicolas Avenue on the Mesa after hearing the pointed concerns from about 30 neighbors last Friday at a meeting held at Holy Cross Church.

Several of the neighbors were vociferous in their objections that a sober living house was not an appropriate addition to their neighborhood. Councilmember Cathy Murillo attended, and relayed a message from fellow councilmember Frank Hotchkiss that most sober living facilities are well monitored and that rule breakers are quickly shown the door.

Murillo expressed concern that critics were unfairly stereotyping recovering alcoholics as “low-lifes.” Councilmember Randy Rowse, a Mesa resident, vowed to write a letter to Santa Barbara statehouse representatives Das Williams and Tony Strickland urging them to support a change in state law barring local governments from regulating sober living facilities with six residents or less.

[EDITOR’S NOTE: Santa Barbara City Councilmember Randy Rowse sent a clarification noting that he did not ask Assemblymember Das Williams to support a change in state law giving local governments oversight of residential sober living facilities with six clients or less. Instead, the note was to invite Williams to explain his views on the matter to neighbors and residents upset to learn that local government had no legal authority over where such facilities were located.]


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