A Representative Listing of Our Clients and Projects:

What Our Clients Say About Our Work
Community Residences, Zoning, and Fair Housing
Municipal and County Clients
U.S. Supreme Court
Expert Witness

Client Reviews

Evan C. Crist, Psy.D., Licensed Psychologist and Founder of Time to Change Community Corrections Program:

Daniel Lauber was simply outstanding in assisting Clark County, Nevada in drafting a revised community residence ordinance.  We relied heavily on Daniel’s expertise of federal fair housing law and on his experience in tactfully addressing questions and concerns of elected officials and stakeholders.  His work was first rate and he was a pleasure to work with.”
— Rob Warhola, Deputy District  Attorney, Clark County, Nevada

“If you've ever tried to zone a halfway house (for any special population), you know that an act of Congress won't get it done. It takes an act of God. Mr. Lauber was invaluable to my zoning efforts to obtain a special use permit to operate a community corrections facility for convicted felons in Colorado. Since he remained in Chicago and all the communication was done via phone and email, the details of communication became even more important. I had a failed attempt (at another location) approximately 2 years earlier and was nervous that all my work on this project would end the same way. I contacted Mr. Lauber after reading about his expertise with halfway houses. He partnered with me in the exact manner that I needed.

“Based on feedback I received from my previous attempt, I knew that I had to actually do the zoning hearing presentation, not an attorney (I really think this varies based on local politics). Mr. Lauber worked with me to gather all the necessary research, conduct a neighborhood informational meeting, and plan and develop my presentation to the zoning board. Perhaps most importantly, he was an excellent cheerleader. When the going got tough, he was upbeat (but realistic) and eager to support my efforts and challenge me to get the next step done rather than get lost in anxiety. His knowledge of zoning law in general and his willingness to get up to speed on my local zoning laws was exceptional. He communicated directly with the planning department when I asked him to and gave me advice on how to handle it when I wanted to deal with it personally. In other words, he let me drive the train. He was there to offer support and expertise as I needed. Thankfully, I listened to him. The process of informing everyone under the sun prior to the hearing was important. The zoning hearing was ugly but our presentation was impressive and really did not give the zoning board any option other than to vote in the affirmative. The zoning hearing lasted from 5 p.m. until 10:30 p.m. The first person I called after the hearing was my wife. The second person was Daniel Lauber. With the combination of experience, knowledge and trustworthiness, you would be making a mistake to go with anyone else.”

CEO, LifeCare Homes, Milwaukee, Wisconsin:

“Daniel Lauber assisted two of my companies with zoning issues pertaining to three different CBRFs or group homes for the elderly/disabled. He attended council meetings, talked with city attorneys, met with city planners as well as the mayors. He also, assisted us with meetings with the neighbors. He is respected by the city attorneys and they listen to him closely. His credentials seem to put fear into city planners / attorneys, and he does get results. I would recommend him for any legal needs for I know he always does his research and is always well prepared for meetings/court. He will never let you down.”

Community Residences, Zoning, and Fair Housing

Municipal and County Clients

Pompano Beach, Florida — The zoning amendments we prepared in collaboration with city staff is state–of–the–art zoning for community residences and recovery communities . Adopted June 12, 2018, the zoning amendments are among the first in the nation to rationally zone for recovery communities (entire multifamily buildings occupied by people in recovery) in compliance with the nation’s Fair Housing Act. We produced a thorough 60–page study upon which the amendments were based, a set of FAQs that explained the proposed zoning in plain English, and provided expert testimony. We also collaborated with city staff on an appliation form for community residences and recovery communities.

Fort Lauderdale, Florida — We prepared an extensive study upon which zoning amendments regulating community residences and sober homes were based. We provided expert assistance to the city attorney drafting zoning amendments as well as expert testimony (2018).

Delray Beach, Florida — We produced a 55-page study upon which we based amendments to the city's Land Development Regulations (in close collaboration with the city's attorneys) to govern zoning for all types of community residences for people with disabilities including recovery residences. We also produced thorough FAQs that explained the zoning amendments in plain English as well as an application form. In 2007, the New York Times dubbed Delray Beach “the recovery capital of America.” The zoning amendments provide a legal mechanism to protect people in recovery from unscrupulous operators and to prevent new concentrations of community residences from developing and prevent existing concentrations from becoming more intense. Since adoption of this ordinance in July 2017, the number of opiod overdoses and deaths in Delray Beach has fallen by 50 percent.

Prescott, Arizona — We conducted a study that formed the basis for zoning amendments we wrote in collaboration with the city attorney for community residences for people with disabilities (2014–2015) that resulted in the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development terminating its investigation charges of housing discrimination filed against the city.

Prescott, Arizona — Collaborating closely with city attorney Jon Paladini, we wrote pioneering ordinance to license Structured Sober Living Homes for which the State of Arizona does not require a state license (2016). The ordinance establishes minimal operational and staffing requirements aimed at preventing the abuses of residents and deaths that have occured in unregulated homes as well as the homelessness created in the absence of responsible discharge procedures.

Phoenix, Arizona — Provided consulting services to city staff during extensive public meeting process to amend the city’s zoning treatment of community residences for people with disabilities including recovery homes (2017–2018). Produced study of current zoning treatment and recommended directions to take to comply with the Fair Housing Act. City staff drafted the adopted zoning amendments.

Dallas, Texas — We provided legal assistance to the City Attorney’s office with a focus on compliance with the nation's Fair Housing Act on the drafting of a new ordinance to license community residences not subject to licensing by the State of Texas (2012).

Dublin, Ohio — We conducted a thorough study that formed the basis for zoning amendments we wrote for community residences for people with disabilities (2014).

Legal and Planning Consultant to Clark County, Nevada (2006–2008) — We provided legal assistance to Clark County in defense and settlement of a zoning and housing discrimination lawsuit filed in federal court, Nevada Fair Housing Center, Inc. v. Clark County

Clark County, Nevada — We conducted a study and wrote amendments to zoning code for community residences for people with disabilities (2005–2006).

Herrin, IllinoisWe drafted zoning amendments covering community residences for people with disabilities to bring Herrin zoning into compliance with the Fair Housing Act;. We researched and wrote the study Principles to Guide Zoning for Community Residences for People With Disabilities in Herrin, Illinois, June 2013 and presented expert testimony to the city’s Zoning Board of Appeals (2013).

Boulder City, Nevada — We prepared a report and amendments to the zoning code for community residences for people with disabilities. We conducted a joint City Council and Planning Commission workshop that explained the amendments and the study upon which they were based (2010).

Mesquite, Nevada — We prepared a report and amendments to the zoning code for community residences for people with disabilities and conducted a workshop for the City Council (2010).

Findlay, Ohio — We conducted a study that formed the basis for zoning amendments we wrote for community residences for people with disabilities (2015).

Willow Springs, Illinois — We provided legal assistance on zoning for community residences for people with disabilities in compliance with the Fair Housing Act (2013).

Illinois Planning Council on Developmental Disabilities (1990–1991): Project to implement Illinois' Community Residence Location Planning Act which required all 110 home rule municipalities to prepare plans showing how they intend to amend their zoning ordinances for group homes to bring them into compliance with 1988 amendments to the federal Fair Housing Act. Conducted seven workshops for municipal officials; provided technical assistance to city attorneys and planners; wrote zoning amendments for 11 cities; appeared as expert witness before local plan commissions; wrote guidebook and legal analysis; wrote model zoning ordinance provisions; wrote report for Illinois General Assembly including recommendations for state legislative action; prepared press releases; evaluated 99 ordinances for compliance with the Fair Housing Act's 1988 amendments. This project won the 1991 award from the Illinois Chapter of the American Planning Association for a "Planning Program of Unusually High Merit Performed Under Serious Budgetary, Manpower, or Political Constraints."

City of East Peoria, Illinois (1993) — Legal consultant; wrote comprehensive zoning ordinance amendments to regulate group homes, halfway houses, shelters, and other community residences in accord with the 1988 amendments to the federal Fair Housing Act

 Group Home Property Value StudyGovernor's Planning Council on Developmental Disabilities — Conducted and published scientific study of impacts of group homes on property values, neighborhood stability, and safety in the surrounding neighborhoods. Using sound, scientific methods, this study found that community residences had no statistically significant effect on property values, property turnover, nor neighborhood safety. Includes an annotated bibliography of similar studies from around the country. Sept. 1986. 

Illinois Department of Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities, Division of Developmental Disabilities, Region Two (9–county Chicago region) (1980–1981) — Managed year–long project on zoning for family and group care homes for the developmentally disabled, consisting of technical assistance, expert testimony, ordinance analysis and preparation, workshops, public education and public relations, site selection, analysis of state legislation

Illinois Department of Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities, Division of Developmental Disabilities — Provided technical assistance to service providers and municipal and county officials on zoning for group homes, wrote model zoning provisions for local governments, conducted workshops on group home zoning for local officials (1982)

Oxford, Ohio — Co–conducted with Brian Blaesser a critical analysis of city's zoning ordinance; draftedzoning ordinance amendments to provide for group homes (1989)

Trotwood, Ohio — Expert consultant in federal court case; wrote zoning ordinance amendments for community residences as part of proposed case settlement (1997).

Springfield, Illinois Expert witness and consultant in federal court case (1997).

Altoona, Pennsylvania — Legal consultant to draft comprehensive zoning ordinance amendments to regulate group homes, halfway houses, shelters, and other community residences in accord with the 1988 amendments to the federal Fair Housing Act (1994–1995).

Maywood, Illinois — Retained by village to interpret zoning ordinance provisions related to appeal of zoning administrators' decision

Philadelphia Department of Mental Health and Mental Retardation — Advised planning, law, building inspection, and zoning officials on zoning for group homes.

Park District of Alsip, Illinois — Co–counsel in successful court defense against housing discrimination claim by a group home operator. Alsip Park District v. D&M Partnership, Case No. 89 L 51342, Circuit Court of Cook County, IL. August 2, 1991 (1990–1991).

Lake County, Illinois — Consultant to the Dept. of Planning, Zoning, and Environmental Quality in succesful defense to court challenge to the location of halfway house for prison pre–parolees.

U.S. Supreme Court

Amicus Brief, City of Edmonds v. Washington State Building Code Council, 514 U.S. 725 (1995) — Principle author of the American Planning Association's Amicus Curiae Brief on behalf of respondents. Decided May 15, 1995 for the respondents. Several observers of the case believe that this brief is one of several that had a significant influence on the majority opinion written by Justice Ginsburg (1994).


Housing Providers

Centered Living of Scottsdale — In collaboration with local attorneys, we obtained a reasonable accommodation for an existing sober home which was obtaining a state license to provide treatment for women in recovery. Scottsdale, Arizona staff had ruled that by obtaining the license, the sober home was transformed into a different use and would not be allowed because it was within the city's 1,200 spacing distance of another community residence. The other community residence was for the frail elderly and both community residences had existed at their locations for seven years, unaware of the other community residence 450 feet away across a very busy street. We also provided expert testimony before the city (2018).

St. John Assisted Living — We obtained a reasonable accommodation from Fort Collins, Colorado that waived zoning provisions that required 1,500 additional square feet of lot area for each resident of a group home with more than three occupants. At issue here was a propoed group home the frail elderly and this requirement for additional lot area for group homes which effectively prevented the home from housing the proposed eight residents; the zoning requirement for additional lot area limited the proposed group hoe to only five residents. There is little doubt that the requirement for additional square feet for group homes for people with disabilities runs afoul of the Fair Housing Act (2017).

The H GroupRepresented The H Group in successful effort to secure zoning ordinance revisions to allow a community residence for people with developmental disabilities that a southern Illinois city rejected in June 2012. Parties’ agreement settling five housing discrimination complaints filed with HUD reached in March 2014. Provided consulting services on zoning for community residences in additional Illinois communities. (2012–2014)

Cardinal McCloskey Community Services — As consulting attorney and planner, provided assistance to this group home operator to successfully prevent Bedford, NY from objecting under the state’s unique Padavan Law to the location of a proposed group home for four young adults with developmental disabilities. Prepared cover letter, FAQs, and annotated bibliography of property value studies for distribution to prospective neighbors inviting them to a coffee to learn about the proposed group home. Provided guidance to the operator for conducting the coffee and appearing at public hearings.  Educated local town staff on the Fair Housing Act and appropriate zoning treatment of group homes. (2014).

Astara House — As consulting attorney, provided guidance to the Ziegler Metzger LLP attorney for this recovery community for people in recovery from drug and/or alcohol addiction to successfully receive a special use permit from Bedford, OH (2014).

West Meadowview Civic Association v. Kankakee County Training Center for the Disabled, Case No. 91–CH–80, 221st Judicial Circuit, Kankakee County, IL (1991). Served as co–counsel for defendant group home operator in challenge to group home based on restrictive covenant. Convinced plaintiff's attorney to drop the lawsuit.

Berde et al v. Albero — Consultant to attorneys for intervenors, Protection and Advocacy, Inc., Oakland, California — seeking to prevent use of restrictive covenant to exclude group home

North Shore Association for the Retarded (name has since been changed to Shore Community Services, Inc.) — Devised and coordinated successful efforts to win zoning approval for group homes for developmentally disabled adults in Evanston, IL; expert witness on effects of group homes (1982)

Kings Treatment Center (2008–2009) — Provided legal representation on zoning matters for group home proposals in Winfield, Kansas

Habilitative Systems (2009) — Provided legal representation on zoning matters for group home in Chicago

Hope House (2008–2009) — Provided legal representation on zoning and building code matters in Hillside, Illinois

Sequoia Recovery Services (2007–2009) — Provided planning and zoning law advice for recovery communities in Pontiac, MI

Open Door Rehabilitation Center (2004–2005) — Wrote zoning text amendments to provide as of right for community residences for people with disabilities in Sandwich, Illinois. Served as expert witness for these text amendments as well as area variances and special use permit for group homes for people with developmental disabilities. Prepared request to Illinois Department of Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities for waiver of license–imposed spacing distance

King's Alcohol/Drug Treatment Center (2005): Secured correct interpretation by county officials of zoning and housing code provisions for two recovery communities for young adults in Sedgwick County, KS

Independent Lifestyles (1996+): Represented this operator of group homes for the frail elderly and other people with severe physical disabilities on zoning and hazards reports issues before the City of Wauwatosa, WI (1996) and other Milwaukee–area cities including Franklin, WI (2006)

Time to Change, Inc. (2006–2007)— Provided legal and planning assistance to operator to win special use permit to establish a 120–bed community correctional facility in an industrial park in Commerce City, Colorado

Recovery Resource Center (2003–2005): Completely rewrote corporate by–laws and represented the center in zoning matters in west suburban Cook County, Illinois

Unity House (2003–2005) — Represented recovery home for men addicted to alcohol or illegal drugs in zoning matters.

Elgin Villa (2003–2007) — Representing recovery homes for men addicted to alcohol or illegal drugs in zoning and housing code matters

Poplar Place (2004) — Secured corrected interpretation of zoning requirements to allow a group home for the frail elderly in a Milwaukee suburb

Kevin Spilsbury (2004) — Represented neighbors responding to zoning proposal for mini–institution with 56 recovering addicts and alcoholics in two adjacent houses in a fenced compound in Clark County, NV

Chabad of California (1999–2001): Provided legal guidance in a variety of zoning and building code matters in Los Angeles, CA, regarding residential rabbinical schools and colleges, drug treatment centers, and recovery communities.

Yellow Brick Road Recovery Community (2001+): Represented operator in response to $1,000 ticket from Village of Maywood, IL, for violation of the zoning code. Violation was nonsuited.

Dungarvin of Wisconsin (2001–2002): Ended efforts by LaCrosse, WI, to prohibit Dungarvin group home for adults with developmental disabilities from locating in a residential district — without having to file a lawsuit

Dungarvin of Illinois (1998–1999): Represented group home for adults with developmental disabilities in its efforts to locate in residential district in Cordova, IL (population: 600). Drafted revisions to the village's zoning code which the village board adopted with some changes that made the client's group home a permitted use.

Senior Residential Care of America (1997–1999): Represented this community–based residential facility for 20 frail elderly before the Village of River Hills, WI, in application for special use permit

Villa Family Live–In Centers, LLC (1996): Represented this operator of group homes for the frail elderly before the City of Oak Creek, Wisconsin for a special use permit

Lighthouse Academy and Residential Center (1995): Represented operator of proposed boarding school for abused, neglected, and abandoned teenagers placed by the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services seeking to locate in the City of Joliet, Illinois;

Lifecare Homes (1996–97): Represented this operator of group homes for the frail elderly before the City of West Allis, Wisconsin, for an exception to the state's 2,500–foot spacing distance

Jack Clark's Family Recovering Communities (1995–1996): Represented this halfway house for individuals recovering from drug and alcohol addictions for a special use permit from the Village of Maywood, Illinois

Villa Family Live–In Centers LLC (1996) — Represented operator of group homes for senior citizens with disabilities before local plan commissions and zoning boards in Wisconsin

Shelter, Inc. (1992–1993)— Consultant on site acquisition for shelters for abused children

Dungarvin, Inc. (1993) — Represented Dungarvin before Lakewood, Colorado, zoning board to obtain special use permit for group home for residents with developmental disabilities.

Proviso Family Services — Served as attorney and expert witness in public hearing for special use permit for group home for six women with mental illness. After winning approval of Maywood, Illinois, Plan Commission, the Village Board amended the zoning ordinance to make such group homes a permitted use.

Foundation for Chemical Dependency Programs (1990): Represented operator seeking zoning map amendment and special use permit to open halfway house for teen–agers in recovery from drug and alcohol addiction in unincorporated Will County, Illinois. Also handled press relations. Zoning issued by 25–1 vote of County Board despite neighbor filing petition requiring a 3/4 vote for approval. Also handled licensing issues

Dungarvin, Inc. (1991) — Served as attorney to successfully persuade Town of Schererville, Indiana, to withdraw zoning and code objections to proposed group home.

Martin Luther Homes — Served as attorney for special use permit hearing for group home for persons with mental illness.

Expert Witness

United States v. City of Chicago Heights, 161 F. Supp. 2nd 819 (N.D. Ill. 2001 — Expert witness for the U.S. Department of Justice on zoning and planning law issues. Deposed in 2000. Identified legal issues that led to district court's summary judgment decision in favor of the United States.

Tracey P., et al v. Sarasota County, C.A. No. 8:05–CV–927–JDW–EAJ, U.S. District Court, Middle District of Florida — Expert witness for Sarasota County in federal lawsuit; deposed Dec. 20, 2006; case settled Dec. 2007.

Rimrock Foundation v. City of Billings, et al, Cause Number CV 06–162–BLG–CSO— Expert witness for Billings, Montana in federal lawsuit. Produced expert witness report that helped lead to settlement of the case (2008).

T.W. and Southern Living Centers v. City of Belleville, IL (1997) — Testified as expert witness on zoning and group home impacts in federal court case in Belleville, IL. Case No. 97–790–WDS (U.S. District Court, Southern District)

City of Mattoon v. Heritage Enterprises of Charleston, Inc., The Graywood Foundation, Inc., and Mile Stones Midwest, Inc. (1997–1998): Deposed as expert witness on group home exclusion case in state court in Mattoon, IL (Coles County Circuit Court Cause No. 97–MR–36)

Ancheta v. Westborough Homeowners Improvement Association (1997): Expert witness in California state court case involving application of restrictive covenants to group home.

Miseracordia (2012): Expert witness before Lincolnwood, Illinois Plan Commission on behalf of Miseracordia’s successful application to establish a group home for six women with developmental disabilities.

Staley, Staley and Huggins v. LB Properties (1992) — Testified as expert witness in successful defense of neighbor effort to overturn ruling by East Peoria Zoning Administrator that group home (RFMS) was a permitted use. Illinois Circuit Court, Case No. 91–CH–64 (May 19, 1992).

USA v. City of Chicago Heights and RFMS, Inc. v. City of Chicago Heights, Civil Action No. 89 C 4981, U.S. District Court, N.D. of Illinois. Settled in favor of RFMS, 1990. Served as expert witness to Rosenthal and Schanfield law firm handling Fair Housing Act lawsuit against Chicago Heights for denying special use permit for group home. Resulted in settlement issuing special use permit for group home and $45,000+ in fines and costs.

Center for New Horizons — Served as expert witness before Chicago Plan Commission seeking special use permit to establish a group home for displaced abused boys from the neighborhood; prepared argument portion of brief appealing denial of special use permit. Scheduled to appear as expert witness in court case which was eventually dropped.

Expert witness on proper zoning treatment and impacts of group homes or halfway houses on property values: