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December 17, 2013

‘Three-unrelated’ ordinance won’t be challenged

NORMAN — A long-standing city zoning ordinance limiting single residential homes to no more than three unrelated persons in residence isn’t going away anytime soon.

The “three-persons unrelated” ordinance was discussed Monday during the Community Planning and Transportation Committee meeting.

“I don’t have any interest in changing the rule but in looking at how we enforce the rule,” committee chair and Council member Greg Jungman said.

Council members serving on the committee include Lynne Miller, Chad Williams and Stephen Tyler Holman. They agreed by consensus not to recommend any changes to the full city council regarding the ordinance.

Recently, Norman City Council member Robert Castleberry, who owns and rents some four-bedroom homes, asked the council to take another look at the ordinance. He said it’s hard to rent four-bedroom homes in Norman because of the ordinance, and that many students are good neighbors.

Castleberry also expressed concern over whether the rule is a violation of personal property rights and said the party house and social host laws have been working to keep the peace in residential neighborhoods.

He said if the matter came before the city council, he would recuse himself because of his rental property.

Miller also said she owns rental property.

The law has legal standing, according to city staff.

“We limit single-family dwelling to relatives by blood, marriage or adoption,” said Planning Director Susan Connors, who said Norman has had limited occupancy in single-family dwellings through city ordinances since 1954.

Connors said the U.S. Supreme court dealt with this issue in a 1974 “landmark zoning case,” Village of Belle Terre V. Boraas.

The decision in that case supports that Norman’s zoning restrictions in this case are legitimate guidelines to constrain the number of people living in a unit, she said.

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