Local News

Raleigh Roommate Debate Draws Large Crowd At Council Meeting

Posted January 22, 2003

— People on both side of proposed roommate limit packed the Raleigh city council chambers Tuesday night to weigh in on the debate.

The packed public hearing followed three forums about a proposed ordinance that would limit the number of unrelated people living in a rental home from four to two.

College students said the limit targets them. Landlords complain they could not survive renting a three- or four-bedroom house to only two people.

Since many immigrants live together, advocates said the limit targets them.

"This ordinance would severly limit the housing choices for immigrant families," said Stella Adams of the Fair Housing Board.

Residents of the Avent West neighborhood, who brought the proposal to Councilman Benson Kirkman, said it is about quality of life, regardless of who the residents are.

"What we're finding in our community is our single-family neighborhood is no longer belonging to single families as it was zoned to be," resident Elizabeth Byrd said.

The full council will consider the measure sometime in March.

Raleigh's code enforcement director said proving whether four or more unrelated people live in a house is going to be tough, and because his staff is small, the roommate limit is not at the top of their priority list.

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