What is a "Residency Occupancy Overlay"?
A Residency Occupancy Overlay, or ROO, is otherwise known as a “no more than 2 unrelated ordinance”.
It would allow neighborhood groups to limit the number of unrelated individuals living in a single-family home to two.
A percentage of a subdivision “phase”, or group of streets, would sign a petition to apply for this new zoning overlay. The proposed percentage is just 58% of homeowners.
Currently, Homeowners Associations have the power to impose their own occupancy limits. Neighborhoods without HOA’s can form deed restrictions if they also want such restrictions.
Unlike these options, a ROO moves enforcement from the neighbors themselves to the government. I do not want the government defining family and monitoring relationships.
Who would this affect?
As proposed, the ROO would prohibit shared occupancy among some relationships commonly considered family, such as
- A single parent and their child living with a partner
- Two siblings sharing a home with their cousin
- A mother, father and child taking in their great-grandparent
It would also prohibit arrangements such as
- A family hosting a foreign exchange student
- Three or more working professionals living together
This ordinance also targets low socioeconomic individuals living together out of necessity. They will unfairly bear the burden of enforcement. Currently there are homeless families in our community staying with people who are kind enough to take them in. This ordinance would push them back out.
On August 14, the City tweeted
"Thanks to extensive public feedback on the proposed Restricted Occupancy Overlay ordinance, city staff is pausing the process to focus on better defining 'related' and 'family.'"
Why does the current city council feel that is it the job of the government to define family and related? We have currently enforceable ordinances to address parking, noise and trash.
How would this be enforced?
The ROO would require enforcement by the city. Prosecuting a violation of a residency ordinance beyond reasonable doubt requires a substantial amount of city staff time for very nominal results.
I am very concerned about the enforcement tactics. They include taking pictures of the comings and goings of residents, recording and tracking license plate numbers, and knocking on doors with official-looking clipboards to intimidate residents into self-confessing.
But I don’t like what’s going on in my neighborhood! Too much on-street parking, unkempt properties, and noise!
Whenever we take any demographic of people and say
we don’t want those people living by us we fracture our unity.
Noise, trash, and parking can be problems - but we currently have ordinances in place to address those concerns. I want our neighborhoods to be safe places for all of our residents. Let’s focus on increasing enforcement efforts of existing ordinances and utilizing the new mediation program to resolve conflicts between neighbors.