Appeal from the United States District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania (D.C. Civil Action No. 01-cv-01238) District Judge: Honorable Richard Caputo.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Ambro, Circuit Judge
Before: AMBRO and STAPLETON, Circuit Judges, STAGG,*fn1 District Judge.
We consider whether a proposed drug- and alcohol-treatment facility, under the facts of this case, qualifies as a dwelling under the Fair Housing Act. Due to funding restrictions, residents of the facility would stay there for slightly more than two weeks on average. But the facility is intended for longer stays, and many stay longer. Moreover, while they are there, the residents would treat the facility like a home. We therefore deem it a dwelling under the Act.
I. Factual Background and Procedural History
In late summer 2000, Lakeside*fn2 was negotiating to sell a resort property to Greenway, Inc., which intended to use the property as a drug- and alcohol-treatment center. That September, they set a price of $1.75 million. The Lakeside property-zoned as Community Commercial-sits on Lake Wallenpaupack in Palmyra Township and includes a hotel-restaurant complex.
In October 2000, Palmyra's Board of Supervisors started working on (and in January 2001 passed) a zoning ordinance amendment that prohibited, among other things, drug- and alcohol-treatment centers in the Community Commercial district. The Board then denied Lakeside's application for a conditional use of the property as a drug- and alcohol-treatment center. As a result, the sale to Greenway fell through.
After losing the sale, Lakeside sued the Board in the Middle District of Pennsylvania, challenging the validity of the ordinance under, inter alia, the Fair Housing Amendments Act (FHAA) of 1988,*fn3 42 U.S.C. §§ 3601 et seq. Lakeside and the Board both filed summary judgment motions, and in June 2003 the District Court denied Lakeside's motion and all but a part of the Board's motion. The suit went to trial, but a mistrial was declared after Lakeside had presented most of its testimony. A new trial began in December 2004. At the close of Lakeside's case, the Board moved for a judgment as a matter of law, but the Court denied it as to the FHAA claim. The Court denied another motion for judgment as a matter of law (renewed by the Board after its first witness), leaving two viable claims,*fn4 including the FHAA claim.
The District Court decided sua sponte to reconsider its denial of the Board's motion for judgment as a matter of law on the FHAA claim, reversed its decision on that motion, and entered judgment for the Board under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 50(a). Lakeside then moved for reconsideration of this decision. Before the District Court denied the reconsideration motion (which it did in March 2005), Lakeside filed a notice of appeal to our Court in January 2005.*fn5
II. Jurisdiction and Standard of Review
The District Court had jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1331, and we have appellate jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1291.
Because the District Court entered a judgment as a matter of law under Rule 50(a), our review is plenary. Rego v. ARC Water Treatment Co. of Pa., 181 F.3d 396, 400 (3d Cir. 1999). We "must view the evidence . . . in a light most favorable to the non-moving party and must give the non-moving party the benefit of all reasonable inferences that can be drawn in its favor." Id. We also exercise "plenary review over ...