Connecticut City Reaches $625K Settlement in Halfway House Lawsuit

December 30, 2019

A federal prison halfway house will not be built in Connecticut after a Pennsylvania-based nonprofit reached a $625,000 settlement in an ongoing lawsuit with the city of Norwalk.

The city will pay $275,000 of the settlement while the city’s insurance company will pay the rest. Firetree, the nonprofit, will not be able to build a halfway house as part of the settlement, The Hour reports.

In 2017, the nonprofit sued the city because it denied them permits to operate the 2,700-square-foot halfway house. In the lawsuit, the company claimed the city discriminated against the intended residents, many of whom were recovering from addiction and had physical and mental health disabilities.

Firetree was denied a certificate of occupancy because city officials said it went against approved use. The nonprofit appealed the decision to the zoning board of appeals, but was also denied in 2017, eventually leading to the lawsuit.

The building was previously operated as a sober house. Firetree bought it in 2015 and invested nearly $630,000 worth of improvements.

Josh Morgan, a city spokesman, said the money the city paid out would be significantly less than what it would cost if it went to trial.

Firetree’s attorney could not be reached.

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