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ACLU files suit to allow home for disabled people in Lawrenceburg

State blocks plans with Homeland Security argument

The ACLU of Indiana, on behalf of New Horizons Rehabilitation, Inc., filed a lawsuit Tuesday, March 14, alleging the State of Indiana is intentionally discriminating against New Horizons and its clients with disabilities.

The ACLU of Indiana is requesting a preliminary injunction and damages for New Horizons, said ACLU of Indiana Legal Director Ken Falk.

The action follows a suit the ACLU filed against the City of Lawrenceburg last September over the same piece of property and the non-profits’ plans to build a house on the Ludlow Hill lot as a permanent residence for three disabled people.

The Lawrenceburg suit, however, was settled out of court last week, said city attorney Del Weldon, explaining New Horizons plans’ are permitted within the city’s zoning regulations and other laws.

But now, the Indiana Department of Homeland Security claims Indiana law and regulations require New Horizons to meet requirements different from single-family residences occupied by non-disabled persons, said Falk.

The home, proposed for 943 Primrose Drive, is planned for an area zoned for single-family residences and will be indistinguishable from other single-family homes in the area, according to New Horizons.

The government’s actions violate the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the US Constitution by burdening and failing to accommodate New Horizons’ clients, said Falk.

“The Constitution and federal law guarantee that persons with disabilities will not be discriminated against. And yet the state of Indiana is imposing onerous burdens on New Horizons Rehabilitation and its clients solely because they are persons with disabilities,” he said.

The property was donated to New Horizons with the understanding a home for disabled individuals would be built on the site, he said.