Proposed Zoning Change Hard To Enforce, Planner Says

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A proposed change to the Watertown city zoning code is aimed at keeping renters out of single-family neighborhoods.

After Debbie Cavallario learned her Thompson Boulevard neighbors weren't a real family, she wanted to make sure housing situations like that didn't become a trend.

Travis Hartman is her next door neighbor. He lives with his fiance and two of his friends.

Cavallario brought a petition to the city planning board and now there's a proposed change to the zoning code.

The change simply removes a line that allows no more than four transient roomers to live in a residential district.

But the kicker is, city planner Ken Mix says the proposed change to the code won't do much.

"In a case where you have people staying in your house, it's still perfectly legal," he said.

"From a practical standpoint, we really have no way of enforcing that, because we can't tell who's blood related and we really don't know who's paying tax and who's staying in rooms or not."

Neither Cavallario nor Hartman would speak on camera.

A public hearing on the proposed change is scheduled for February 4.

Thursday, November 20, 2014
, Watertown, NY

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