Senate Bill No. 388
(By Senators Tomblin, Mr. President, and Buckalew,
By Request of the Executive)
[Passed March 12, 1998; in effect ninety days from passage.]
AN ACT to amend and reenact article seventeen, chapter twenty- seven of the code of West Virginia, one thousand nine
hundred thirty-one, as amended, relating to prohibiting
housing discrimination against individuals with
disabilities; amending definitions and defining group
residential homes; eliminating special zoning requirements
for group residential facilities and group residential
homes; eliminating the complaint process for residents of a
contiguous area of a zoning district in which a group
residential facility is located; and providing that group
residential homes are not subject to licensure.
Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That article seventeen, chapter twenty-seven of the code of
West Virginia, one thousand nine hundred thirty-one, as amended,
be amended and reenacted to read as follows:
ARTICLE 17. GROUP RESIDENTIAL FACILITIES.
(a) "Developmental disability" means a chronic disability of
a person which: (1) Is attributable to a mental or physical
impairment or combination of mental and physical impairments; (2)
is likely to continue indefinitely; (3) results in substantial
functional limitations in self-direction, capacity for
independent living or economic self-sufficiency; and (4) reflects
the person's need for a combination and sequence of special,
interdisciplinary or generic care, treatment or other services
which are of lifelong or extended duration and are individually
planned and coordinated.
(b) "Behavioral disability" means a disability of a person
which: (1) Is attributable to severe or persistent mental
illness, emotional disorder or chemical dependency; and (2)
results in substantial functional limitations in self-direction,
capacity for independent living or economic self-sufficiency.
(c) "Group residential facility" means a facility which is
owned or leased by a behavioral health service provider and
which: (1) Provides residential services and supervision for
individuals who are developmentally disabled or behaviorally
disabled; (2) is occupied as a residence by not more than eight
individuals who are developmentally disabled and not more than
three supervisors, or is occupied as a residence by not more than twelve individuals who are behaviorally disabled and not more
than three supervisors; (3) is licensed by the department of
health or the division of human services; and (4) complies with
the state fire commission for residential facilities.
(d) "Group residential home" means a building owned or
leased by developmentally disabled or behaviorally disabled
persons for purposes of establishing a personal residence. A
behavioral health service provider may not lease a building to
such persons if the provider is providing services to the persons
without a license as provided for in this article.
§27-17-2. Permitted use of group residential facilities;
Both a group residential facility and a group residential
home shall be a permitted residential use of property for the
purposes of zoning and shall be a permitted use in all zones or
districts. No county commission, governing board of a
municipality or planning commission shall require a group
residential facility, its owner or operator, to obtain a
conditional use permit, special use permit, special exception or
variance for location of such facility in any zone or district.
§27-17-3. License from director of health; application;
(a) No group residential facility shall be established, maintained or operated unless a license therefor shall be first
obtained from the director of health, except that a group
residential facility for behaviorally disabled juveniles shall be
deemed to satisfy all requirements of this section by obtaining
a license from the commissioner of human services. The
application for such license shall contain such data and facts as
the director may require. The director may promulgate reasonable
regulations for the conduct of such facilities, including, but
not limited to, a statement of the rights of patients in group
residential facilities for the mentally and physically impaired
to ensure the adequate care and supervision of such patients, and
shall have the authority to investigate and inspect any such
facility, and may revoke the license of any such facility for
good cause after notice and hearing.
(b) A group residential home is not required to obtain a
license from the director of health.
§27-17-4. Exclusion by private agreement void.
Any restriction, reservation, condition, exception or
covenant in any subdivision plan, deed, or other instrument of or
pertaining to the transfer, sale, lease or use of property which
would permit residential use of property but prohibit the use of
such property as a group residential facility or group
residential home shall, to the extent of such prohibition, be
void as against the public policy of this state and shall be given no legal or equitable force or effect.