Penobscot Area Housing Development Corp. v. City of Brewer, 434 A.2d 14 (1981)

Facts: The Penobscot Area Housing Development Corp. is a nonprofit organization that provides housing for retarded citizens. The Penobscot Housing Corp. was denied an occupancy certificate for a house it purchased because the home was to be used as a “group home for six adults or older minors” which did “not meet the terms of the City of Brewer’s zoning ordinance as a single family.”

Procedural History: The Superior Court affirmed the Board’s affirmation of the Brewer City enforcement officer.

Issue: Whether the requirement of a domestic bond would have been met by the relationship forged among the residents themselves as they lived and worked together.

Holding: Rejected the Penobscot Area Housing Corp’s position because the concept of “domestic bond” within the context of the ordinance implies the existence of a traditional family-like structure of household authority.

Reasoning: The reviewing court’s function is only to determine whether the decision of the Board of Appeals was unlawful, arbitrary, capricious, or unreasonable. Relationships other than those based on blood or law satisfy the ordinance. The domestic bond requirement is not met because most residents would only reside in the home for one to one and a half years.

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