SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT BETWEEN
THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
THE CITY OF ANSONIA, CONNECTICUT
DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE COMPLAINT NUMBER 204-14-150
A. Background and Parties
- The parties to this Settlement Agreement (“Agreement”) are the United States of America and the City of Ansonia, Connecticut. The City of Ansonia is a “public entity” within the meaning of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (“ADA”), 42 U.S.C. § 12131(1), and is, therefore, subject to title II of the ADA, 42 U.S.C. § 12131 et seq., and its implementing regulations, 28 C.F.R. Part 35.
- This matter was initiated by a complaint filed with the United States Department of Justice (“DOJ”) pursuant to title II of the ADA. The complainant, Recovery Network of Programs, who planned to open a treatment facility for qualified individuals with substance abuse disabilities, was not permitted to open the facility by the City of Ansonia because the City’s zoning code excluded substance abuse treatment facilities from certain zones. The complainant alleges that the City refused to allow the facility on the basis of disability, in violation of the ADA.
- Under title II of the ADA, no qualified individual with a disability shall, by reason of such disability, be excluded from participation in or denied the benefits of the services, programs, or activities of a public entity, such as the City of Ansonia, or be subjected to discrimination by any such entity. 42 U.S.C. § 12132; 28 C.F.R. § 35.130. Zoning and land use decisions are services, programs, or activities of a public entity.
- The Department of Justice is the federal agency responsible for administering and enforcing title II of the ADA with respect to all programs, services, and regulatory activities relating to planning and development by public entities, 28 C.F.R. § 35.190. The Attorney General is authorized to bring a civil action enforcing title II of the ADA if the Department of Justice is unable to secure compliance by voluntary means. 42 U.S.C. § 12133; 28 C.F.R. Part 35, Subpart F.
- The United States of America and the City of Ansonia have agreed to resolve this matter as set forth below. This agreement shall not be construed as an admission of liability or wrongdoing by the City of Ansonia.
B. Injunctive Relief
- The City of Ansonia shall not discriminate on the basis of disability in violation of the ADA on the face of its regulations; or in making land use decisions regarding, or plans to create, operate, or modify, facilities that provide services for individuals with disabilities. Such non-discrimination includes making reasonable modifications to policies, practices, or procedures when such modifications are necessary to afford individuals with disabilities an equal opportunity to use and enjoy a facility, unless such modification would fundamentally alter the nature of the land use.
- The City of Ansonia has modified its regulations, specifically Article III – District Requirements, § 310, Schedule B. The City of Ansonia has modified the language: “Medical and dental clinics for the performance of dentistry and healing arts for patients not resident on the premise but expressly excluding clinics for the insane, alcoholics and drug addicts.” The new language reads as follows: “Medical and dental clinics for the performance of dentistry and healing arts for patients not resident on the premises.”
- The City of Ansonia shall not retaliate against the Recovery Network of Programs in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 12203.
- The City of Ansonia agrees that within 30 days of the effective date of this agreement, the City of Ansonia will provide a copy of this agreement to each Alderman. For three years after the effective date, within thirty days of the date he or she commences as a new Alderman, each new Alderman shall be given a copy of this agreement.
- The City of Ansonia agrees that within 30 days of the effective date, the City of Ansonia shall provide a copy of this agreement to each member of the Planning and Zoning Commission and each management-level employee of the Zoning Department and Building Department. For three years after the effective date, within thirty days of appointment of a new member of the above departments, or hire of a new management-level employee, each new member or employee shall be given a copy of this agreement.
D. Implementation and Enforcement
- The United States may review compliance with this agreement at any time and may enforce this agreement if the United States believes that it or any requirement thereof has been violated. If the United States believes that this agreement or any portion of it has been violated, it will raise its concern(s) with the City of Ansonia and the parties will attempt to resolve the concern(s) in good faith. The United States will give the City of Ansonia thirty days from the date it notifies the City of Ansonia of any breach of this agreement to cure that breach, prior to instituting any action with the Court.
- Failure by the United States to enforce any provision or deadline of this agreement shall not be construed as a waiver of its right to enforce other provisions or deadlines of this agreement.
- This agreement constitutes the entire agreement between the parties relating to Department of Justice Complaint No. 204-37-302, and no other statement, promise, or agreement, either written or oral, made by any party or agents of any party, that is not contained in this written agreement, including its attachments, shall be enforceable. This agreement does not purport to remedy any other potential violations of the ADA or any other federal law. This agreement does not affect the City’s continuing responsibility to comply with all aspects of the ADA.
- If any term of this agreement is determined by any court to be unenforceable, the other terms of this agreement shall nonetheless remain in full force and effect, provided, however, that if the severance of any such provision materially alters the rights or obligations of the parties, the parties shall engage in good faith negotiations in order to adopt mutually agreeable amendments to this agreement as may be necessary to restore the parties as closely as possible to the initially agreed upon relative rights and obligations.
- The individuals signing this agreement represent they are authorized to bind the parties to this agreement.
- This agreement shall be binding on the City of Ansonia, its agents and employees, successors and assigns.
- Section titles and other headings contained in this agreement are included only for ease of reference and shall have no substantive effect.
- The parties agree that facsimile signatures on this agreement are acceptable for purposes of execution and that this agreement may be executed in counterpart.
- The effective date of this agreement is the date of the last signature below.
- All notices, demands, or other communications to be provided pursuant to this agreement shall be in writing and delivered by fax or overnight mail to the following persons and addresses (or such other persons and addresses as any party may designate in writing from time to time):
For the United States:
David C. Nelson
Assistant U.S. Attorney
U.S. Attorney’s Office
450 Main Street, Rm. 328
Hartford, CT 06103
(860) 947-1101 (phone)
(860) 760-7979 (fax)
For the City of Ansonia:
James Della Volpe
Mayor of Ansonia, Connecticut
253 Main Street
Ansonia, CT 06401
375 Bridgeport Avenue
Shelton, CT 06484
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