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How to Start a Residential Group Home Business in Phoenix, Arizona

There are different ways to begin a residential group home business in Phoenix, Arizona, as there are different kinds of group homes. One type is a residential home for the disabled. The City of Phoenix defines a disabled person as "one who has a physical or mental handicap which considerably restricts one or more life activities; has documentation of a handicap; or is thought to have such a handicap." Here, we will look at starting a residential group home for the disabled.

Check the zoning maps at the City of Phoenix Planning Department's website to determine if your dwelling is in the correct zoning district for a residential group home business. Group homes for one to five residents are allowed in any zoning area. Group homes for six to 10 residents must "be at least 1,320 feet away from another registered handicapped group home that has 6-10 residents," according to the website. Home owners associations and other rules governing your neighborhood also may determine whether you can start a residential group home there.

Review the pre-application meeting checklist on the city Development Services Department (DSD) website to schedule a pre-application meeting with the department's development review team. Take the documents and plans outlined in the checklist to the meeting, along with the pre-application meeting fees, which range from $1,200 to $2,500. Contact the Arizona Department of Health Services Department for additional regulations.

Attend the DSD pre-application meeting to go over the proposed residential group home business and obtain the preliminary site plan information packet.

Submit the preliminary site plan packet and associated documents to the departments specified in the packet.

Meet with the DSD staff and neighbors in a public meeting to discuss the proposed residential group home business, go over the "staff report" outlining the circumstances for approval and make any corrections to the documents.

Fill out the correct form to apply for a zoning application with the city, depending on how many residents your residential group home will serve. You can find applications and regulations at the City of Phoenix Zoning Department web site.

Submit the $50 to $250 zoning application processing fee to the city, depending on the size of your residential group home business. This should be done within 60 days, once you have finished the registration process.


Based in Arizona, Lacy Leathers has been a writer since 2005. Her articles have appeared in several online publications.