Although the Mains Farm majority's conclusion that a group home for the disabled is neither a single-family dwelling nor a residential use is certainly questionable,7 this Note is neither intended as an addition to the "what is a family?" definitional debate, nor as a proposal that the issues decided in Mains Farm be re-litigated. Instead, this Note will: (1) analyze the Mains Farm controversy from the often ignored perspective of disabled individuals who benefit from community based group homes, and (2) present applicable state and federal law by which group homes threatened with judicial attack in the wake of the Mains Farm ruling can defend themselves. Specifically, Section I of this Note will present an overview of both the benefits of group homes for the disabled and the various ways in which resistant NIMBY neighbors and municipalities have attempted to banish them. Section II will analyze the Mains Farm decision. Section III will explore evidence of an overriding public policy favoring the establishment of group homes for the disabled in Washington State. Section IV will analyze the neighbors' conduct in Mains Farm under both the federal Fair Housing Act and Washington's Law Against Discrimination. Ultimately, this Note will conclude that future group home defenders should not concentrate on re-litigating the issues decided in Mains Farm. Instead, their focus should be on seeking an authoritative judicial determination that neighbors who attempt to use a "single family dwelling/residential use" restrictive covenant to banish group homes for the disabled from their communities are violating both state and federal fair housing laws.
Todd H. Carlisle, Mains Farm v. Worthington: Fair Housing Laws and Fear of Adult Family Homes, 18 SEATTLE U. L. REV. 425 (1995).