Complaint Alleges Township Blocked Opening of Residential Care Home Because of Discrimination

On May 27, 2020, Plaintiffs Monica and Richard Plack and Gram and Gramp’s House is Home, LLC, filed a disability discrimination lawsuit against Perry Township, Ohio, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio.

In 2019, the Placks bought a home located in Perry Township intending to use it to operate Gram and Gramp’s House, a residential care home for disabled seniors.  However, Perry Township refused to allow the Placks to open their residential care home as a permitted use under the Township’s R-2 Single and Two-Family Residential Zoning District. The Township also refused to grant Plaintiffs’ requests for reasonable modifications to the Township’s Zoning Resolution so that the proposed residential care home would be a permitted use.  The Complaint alleges that the Township acceded to local community opposition, which included public testimony such as:  “common sense would indicate that [operating the home] will have a detrimental effect on the adjacent property . . . and the neighboring properties,” and “So now [you] are going to put, you know, disabled residents in there. And it is scary.”  Because of the Township’s discriminatory actions, the Placks have never been able to open their proposed residential care home and provide a secure, welcoming place for seniors with disabilities in and around Perry Township to live.

Plaintiffs bring claims under the Fair Housing Act, Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act, and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act.

“Federal law is clear: individuals with disabilities should have the same opportunity to live in the community of their choice as those without disabilities do.  But acting on its own biases and stereotypes and caving to discriminatory community pressure, Perry Township has decided it doesn’t have to follow the law.  As a result, seniors with disabilities continue to be excluded from a community where they have every right to live,” said Jean Zachariasiewicz of Brown, Goldstein & Levy, one of the Plaintiffs’ attorneys.

Plaintiffs are also represented by Anisha Queen of Brown, Goldstein & Levy and Steve Dane of Dane Law LLC.