New York Town Bans Unrelated People from Living Together


One town in New York has banned unrelated people from living together, after one resident complained about a man and his fiance living with two friends.

Deborah Cavallario was upset last year when two friends moved into a house with a man and his fiance. Cavallario then asked the city council of Watertown, NY to pass a zoning regulation that prevents unrelated roommates from living together.

Travis Hartman, 27, said he rented out the room to his friends so they could help him pay the mortgage.

During a debate at the city council in late 2012, Cavallario said Hartman was a good neighbor.

“This is not a dirt bag kind of thing that I’m trying to drag my neighbors through,” she said.

The thing that bothered her the most was the number of cars parked in front of the home and in the neighborhood. She wanted to prevent the neighborhood from being overcrowded.

“All I’m trying to do is just go out there and have a normal life, a quiet life,” Hartman told the council.

He said he was just starting out in life and needed a couple of roommates so he could save money.

One former neighbor defended Hartman by recalling a time when Cavallario moved in as a young resident and residents complained she wasn’t rich enough.

“She considered them ‘servant class,’” Linda Morrison told the council about the female neighbor of Cavallario’s.

Morrison said it was a “slippery slope” of neighbors having the right to kick out another resident.

But the issue was passed by a city council vote of 3-2, and it has since been forwarded to the city’s planning committee.

The city’s mayor, Jeffrey Graham, voted against it.

“From a public relations perspective this is seen as a tolerance issue, not a land use issue,” he said.

Other people in the town are complaining about it, especially young residents who can’t afford to live alone.

“As a young 20-something, I am livid,” Marissa Richardson said. “If I wanted to live independently, I’d have to get a roommate, no way around considering how there are very few full-time jobs (with benefits) in town. It’s very sad how because one woman feels the need to get upset about unmarried people living together.”



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