Residents Protest Watertown Zoning Change


The controversy started as a dispute between neighbors.

Now, it's morphed into a debate about the definition of family.

Many Watertown residents are appalled.

"It makes us look foolish," S.G. Gates said. "It's not something the city council should even be involved with."

"It is a bad idea," said Sandra King. "It's downright ridiculous, because how can you tell people what they're supposed to do within their home?"

At Monday's city council meeting, people voiced their opposition to a change in Watertown's zoning ordinance that prohibits people who are unrelated from living together in certain parts of the city.

"The council's action a month ago was not all that dramatic, but it sort of grew on itself," Mayor Jeff Graham said.

"Some outside media got ahold of it and it became even more amplified and people just reacted viscerally to this," Graham said.

Some city leaders have said the ordinance is basically moot, since it's not likely to be enforced.

But the general consensus is, residents don't like it and they want it overturned.

"I just don't know how they would enforce such a thing," Cody Horbacz said, "and if they don't know how to enforce it -- if they can't enforce it -- what's the point of having it on the books?"

The city officials said they'll look into the zoning ordinance to see if any changes should be made.

They say, however, it's not likely the law will be overturned.
Friday, December 2, 2016
, Watertown, NY

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