By Kyle Peveto, Page Editor
The city of Abilene may raise the number of unrelated people who are allowed to live in one house from three to four residents next month.
Employees within the development services department have researched other cities’ policies concerning the issue and suggested raising the number.
The issue will go before the planning commission in a public hearing Oct. 11.
“Most cities we’ve surveyed or contacted allow four [per house],” said Jeff Armstrong, Abilene development services manager.
Cities limit the number of unrelated people per house because of the effect the home may have on a neighborhood.
“This is something all cities, especially those with colleges, have to deal with,” Armstrong said.
When unrelated people live together, usually those people are all adults who all drive, Armstrong said. These homes often produce traffic and parking problems and are generally a bigger drain on the resources of a city.
“You need to draw the line somewhere,” Armstrong said.
In 1984 Abilene drew the line at three, where previously the limit was five.
Many are unaware they violate this rule or that it even existed.
“I knew about it, but I didn’t know it [applied to] the whole city,” said Carisse Brown, senior exercise science major from Lewisville.
If the city raised the number of unrelated people allowed to live together, most students, if they knew about the change, would be relieved.
“Everybody’s doing it, so they might as well,” Brown said.
“It’s a violation of the zoning code, which is a class C misdemeanor,” Armstrong said. “We can write citations and fine up to $2,000.”
The city normally puts the responsibility of complying with the law on the landlord.
Different zoning laws affect housing such as residence halls and fraternity or sorority houses. These buildings must be equipped to handle the large amount of people who may be living there.