City Council Invades the Privacy of People's Homes, Bans Roommates

The Federal Government over recent years have tried to step up their attempts to become our nannies, telling us how to live our lives.  Is it any surprise that those at the state and local levels will follow their example in their own way.  That is what a community in New York state called Watertown (about 30 miles from the Canadian border) has recently invoked on the populace of that city's residential district.


On February 4, 2013, city council members in Watertown, New York voted 3-2 to outlaw roommates and other transient guests from people's homes.  Dissenting councilwoman, Teresa Macaluso said:

"Fundamentally, I think it's wrong that we put these kinds of procedures and policies in place. Really all we're doing is hurting the people who live in this community, in these tough times, a roommate could be needed to keep someone from losing a home, there are soldiers who need roommates and also same-sex couples would be harmed."


City Hall has decided to grandfather in the roommates unwed couples, boarders, etc., but presumably everyone else will need to start showing the City Government their marriage licenses, birth certificates, adoption records, etc. if they want to stay in their homes.  Look for a population increase in Watertown as lawyers move in to address all the issues that such a policy will create, at the expense of the community.  Here is a satellite picture of the residential area (with complainant Cavallario's home tagged at "A", courtesy of the Ludington Torch, followed by a local article on the topic which explains what happened in more detail:



Council changes zoning for roommates in residential neighborhoods

In a split vote, the Watertown City Council decided on Monday night to make a change in the city’s zoning ordinance that forbids roommates from moving into a residential neighborhood and living in a single-family house.

The issue came up in December after Thompson Boulevard resident Deborah A. Cavallario found out that next-door neighbor Travis W. Hartman had his fiancée and two friends living with him in his single-family home at 257 Thompson Blvd.

She objected because it’s a residential neighborhood with only single-family homes. The neighborhood is zoned as Residential A.

In the 3-2 vote Monday night, council members decided to eliminate a single sentence from the city code pertaining to a reference allowing “no more than four transient roomers” to live in a house in a residential district.

Mayor Jeffrey E. Graham and Councilwoman Teresa R. Macaluso opposed the change. Council members Joseph M. Butler Jr., Jeffrey M. Smith and Roxanne M. Burns voted for it. The two sides disagreed whether the change would mean the city was defining what makes up a family.

During a public hearing before the vote, Mr. Hartman tried to convince council members that he invited his friends to live with him because he had just purchased the house last February and needed some help because he “was just starting out.”

“All I’m trying to do is live a normal life, a quiet life,” he said.

Mr. Hartman also wondered how the city could stop boyfriends and girlfriends, domestic partners and soldiers from buying a house and living together.

But the three council members who supported the change said the city had to make sure that the characteristic of Residential A zones are protected. Other zoned districts allow for such arrangements, they said.

“You start to blur the lines,” Mr. Butler said.

Mrs. Cavallario, who lives at 259 Thompson Blvd., first brought up the issue with the city’s Planning Board, which recommended making the change in the zoning ordinance. She also gathered 80 signatures on a petition requesting that unrelated people not be allowed to live in a single-family house in a district zoned Residential A.

At Monday night’s public hearing, Mrs. Cavallario said she hoped Mr. Hartman and his friends “would be grandfathered in” and continue to live there. But she said the situation should not become “normal in our neighborhood.”

The city’s Planning Department had previously determined the zoning change will not impact Mr. Hartman and his friends.

During the public hearing, Linda A. Morrison, another Thompson Boulevard neighbor, and Planning Board member William R. Davis Jr. also lobbied for council members to vote against the change. They both argued it would be difficult for the city to enforce

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The problem here is that the zoning classification is called a "single family home". The reason for this is to prevent multiple families from overcrowding single unit residential dwellings. In most cities a family is classified as any number of related individuals or 3 to 5 unrelated persons. The problems start when someone rents rooms to unrelated persons and to many people end up over occupying a single family dwelling. You then can have parking problems, noise problems, ect. However it seems that in this situation the city is overstepping the Constitution. They are not saying they want to limit the number of unrelated persons in a dwelling, they just want to disallow anyone to share a house who is not related. This is outrageous and like X says the lawyers will be flocking to this little town where they will make a fortune suing a group of Councilors that seem to be related to Ludingtons Councilors. This proves that there are idiots all over this great country. A lot of college towns rely on having unrelated people living together so that students can have places to live. I hope Ludingtons leaders don't read this and get some weird ideas.


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