Become a Group Home Guru

Zoning Practice — June 2016

By Dwight Merriam, FAICP


ZP subscriber
List Price
Sign In & Download

Not a member but want to buy a copy? You'll need to create a free My APA account to purchase. Create account

Group homes are sui generis, truly a class unto themselves in terms of planning and regulation. They present nearly intractable challenges for planners, regulators, neighbors, advocates, developers, and many other stakeholders, chief among them the residents.

Largely because of misperceptions by many people and a lack of understanding, group homes are among the most disfavored land uses. However, the appropriate siting of group homes will help a community become a richer and more diverse place, and facilitate social justice.

This issue of Zoning Practice discusses how federal and state laws, as well as social justice goals, affect local zoning for group housing. It reviews key considerations for defining and regulating group homes and highlights the importance of incorporating reasonable accommodation provisions into local codes.


Page Count
Date Published
June 1, 2016
Adobe PDF
American Planning Association

About the Author

Dwight Merriam, FAICP
Dwight H. Merriam, FAICP, a lawyer and land use planner, is a Fellow in the American College of Real Estate Lawyers, a Fellow and Past President and of the American Institute of Certified Planners, and Past Chair of the ABA Section of State and Local Government Law. He has published over 200 articles and 13 books, including co-editing the treatise Rathkopf’s The Law of Zoning and Planning. UMass BA (cum laude), UNC MRP, and Yale JD.