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Definitions Definition for family?

michaelskis

Cyburbian
Messages
19,709
Points
46
I don’t agree with it, but we have a definition for family. I am wondering if other places have a definition for family and if so, what is it.
 

Repo Man

Cyburbian
Messages
2,550
Points
25
We define family as "the body of persons who live together in one (1) dwelling unit as a single housekeeping entity."

It is very broad and our Attorney wanted it to be that way to avoid any lawsuits or complaints by people about the City trying to define what types of relationships constitute a family.
 

giff57

Corn Burning Fool
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
5,415
Points
32
Most places are getting rid of that sort of language.
 

SGB

Cyburbian
Messages
3,388
Points
26
[Bush administration]
A heterosexual household, consisting of a man and woman married according to Judeo-Christian tradition.
[/Bush administration]

B-)
 

SW MI Planner

Cyburbian
Messages
3,195
Points
26
We have two:

(48) Family: One or two persons or parents, with their direct lineal descendants and adopted or foster children (and including the domestic employees thereof), together with not more than two persons not so related, living together in the whole or part of a dwelling comprising a single housekeeping unit. Unrelated persons needing medical attention shall be permitted only if professional care is given.

(50) Family, Functional: A group of persons which does not meet the definition of "Family" herein, living in a dwelling unit as a single housekeeping unit and intended to live together as a group for the indefinite future. This definition shall not include any fraternity, sorority, club, hotel or other group of persons whose association is temporary or commercial in nature.
 

Habanero

Cyburbian
Messages
3,241
Points
27
We have it, but it's mostly to limit group homes locating everywhere with a lot of people.

Our definition of family:

An individual or tow or more persons related by blood or marriage or a group of not more than five persons (excluding servants) at least one of whom is an adult, who need not be related by blood or marriage living together in a dwelling unit.
 

michaelskis

Cyburbian
Messages
19,709
Points
46
Our's kind of prohibits college students from living togeather in single family districts.
 

Chet

Cyburbian Emeritus
Messages
10,624
Points
34
Plannergirl - help me out on this one. My memory is so short this time of year with APA coming up and all...

BTW - SW MI Planner. You must work for a college town with those dual definiations?
 

mike gurnee

Cyburbian
Messages
3,066
Points
30
Your best bet is to keep it within the building code criteria. I have toyed with the idea of "full time equivalent" residents, to accommodate the shift workers.
 

Wulf9

Member
Messages
923
Points
22
I think there have been lawsuits on the subject, with the general conclusion that any agglomeration of people with a good attorney is a "family."

Maybe that's only in the 9th district. I don't remember.
 

JNA

Cyburbian Plus
Messages
25,063
Points
54
"FAMILY" One or more persons occupying a single dwelling unit, provided that,
unless all members are related by blood, adoption, or marriage,
no such family shall contain over five (5) persons.
However, any such unrelated family must provide off-street parking for all "family" vehicles.
 

SW MI Planner

Cyburbian
Messages
3,195
Points
26
Chet said:
BTW - SW MI Planner. You must work for a college town with those dual definiations?
Nope, not sure why that's there - that was before my time. Maybe because the County has a large migrant population? Not sure....
 

michaelskis

Cyburbian
Messages
19,709
Points
46
JNA said:
no such family shall contain over five (5) persons.
So the Brady Bunch can't live in your city. Do you have much of a Catholic population? I thought that we where harsh!
 

JNA

Cyburbian Plus
Messages
25,063
Points
54
See why code enforcement can be interesting -
I don't believe you read / interpreted the defintion in it's entirety.

One or more persons occupying a single dwelling unit, provided that,
unless all members are related by blood, adoption, or marriage,

no such family shall contain over five (5) persons.

Michaelskis said:
Do you have much of a Catholic population?
see their website: http://www.evansville-diocese.org/
 

boiker

Cyburbian
Messages
3,890
Points
26
ours is similar to JNA. if your blood related, as many as you can fit are permitted by zoning ordinance (building code is another thing). We are a college town and we limit a family to no more than 3 unrelated individuals. We issue "group family/occupancy" permits to allow upto 6 unrelated individuals, however there is a spacing requirement. Over 6 unrelated is not allowed.
 

Habanero

Cyburbian
Messages
3,241
Points
27
boiker said:
ours is similar to JNA. if your blood related, as many as you can fit are permitted by zoning ordinance (building code is another thing). We are a college town and we limit a family to no more than 3 unrelated individuals. We issue "group family/occupancy" permits to allow upto 6 unrelated individuals, however there is a spacing requirement. Over 6 unrelated is not allowed.
Not allowed more than six at all, even with a Use Permit? 8-!
 

boiker

Cyburbian
Messages
3,890
Points
26
Habanero said:
Not allowed more than six at all, even with a Use Permit? 8-!
Yes, that is correct. So obvisouly, we run into problems when big, old 3,000 sq ft houses that have room for 7or 8 in them are converted for college student use. Legally, the owner can only have 6 max in that house, and that is only under the condition that the group occupancy permit is issued. If there is not permit, or a permit can't be issued for the porperty due to spacing requirements, then only 3 unrelated individuals can live together.
 

The One

Cyburbian
Messages
8,289
Points
29
Good Luck

I don't see much point having a definition for "family" anymore, beyond a basic understanding that a structure cannot contain more people than allowed by fire code. Lots of constitutional problems with trying to enforce who can live where, without stepping on religeous, property rights and equal housing freedoms.
 

Budgie

Cyburbian
Messages
5,270
Points
30
The One said:
I don't see much point having a definition for "family" anymore, beyond a basic understanding that a structure cannot contain more people than allowed by fire code. Lots of constitutional problems with trying to enforce who can live where, without stepping on religeous, property rights and equal housing freedoms.
I'll second that.
 

Habanero

Cyburbian
Messages
3,241
Points
27
I think you can still enforce it and define it because it can be considered a land use issue. If you have a house that is packed to fire code capacity, which is much more than what we'd allow by right, you could have traffic issues and neighborhood complaints about it. Also, at what point is renting out bed space in a single family home considered to be a business and not a home? At least by defining how many unrelated people can live in a home by right you can help mitigate some of those concerns.
 

Dan

Dear Leader
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
18,116
Points
63
This is what I wrote, although I agree with the majority that it really shouldn't be defined in the code.

Family – individual living alone, or one of these groups living together as a housekeeping unit and sharing common living, sleeping, cooking and eating facilities:
* any number of persons related by blood, marriage, adoption, guardianship or other authorized custodial relationship unless the number is specifically limited in the Land Use Code
* an unrelated group of up to six persons
* two unrelated adults and their related children, if any.


Why six people? Most houses in the municipality had three or more bedrooms; that's two people per bedroom. It was an issue because there was a commune that settled down in one of the houses in town, and they had several nuisance-related issues; noise, lot maintenance, vehicles, nudity, and so on.
 

The One

Cyburbian
Messages
8,289
Points
29
Group Homes

Dan: I think the six person rule might have been related to Federal Fair Housing for Group homes in residential areas, and/or court decisions from the past. I know here in Florida it is a 6 person max before conditional uses kick in to play. I think it was the same in Colorado. I think the basis is from a decision that said limitations on group homes would descriminate against those with disabilities. Remember in the early 80's when the government ended the subsidizing of mental institutions, putting a lot of them out of business, that created a mad rush and need for space to accomodate all of those in need of care. Average sf home size is 3 beds x 2 people each bedroom = 6 total.
 

ssc

Cyburbian
Messages
209
Points
9
Here's ours

Family: One or more persons occupying a single dwelling unit, provided that unless all members are related by blood, marriage or adoption, so such family shall contain over eight persons, but further provided that domenstic servants employed on the premises may be houses on the premises without being counted as a family or families.

Phew - my live-in staff of eight is legal!!!
 
Messages
27
Points
2
Definition of family

michaelskis said:
I don’t agree with it, but we have a definition for family. I am wondering if other places have a definition for family and if so, what is it.
I recall from a planning law course in grad school a case where the definition of the term family was brought before the Supreme Court. The case, Village of Belle Terre v. Boraas, 416 U.S. 1 (1974)
 

maximov

Cyburbian
Messages
137
Points
6
I am pretty new here, and have no pertinent education beyond my own research, done while serving on a committee to write an ordinance in my town, but I am a little confused on this issue. Here are the quotes that confuse me:
The New York State Legal Memorandum referenced earlier in this thread includes the following (edited): "...the Court of Appeals considered whether a municipality can restrict the number of unrelated persons living together as the functional equivalent of a natural family, while allowing an unlimited number of related persons to reside together...The Court of Appeals held that the family definition violated the State due process clause because it restricted the size of a functionally equivalent family of unrelated persons but not the size of a traditional family. Such differentiation was not reasonably related to a legitimate zoning purpose, and therefore violated State Due Process. Reading the Baer decision in light of the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Moore v. City of East Cleveland, (supra), it appears that, for zoning purposes, a municipality may not restrict the number of related or unrelated persons who constitute a family." (my italics)

On the other hand, here is an excerpt from "JOINT STATEMENT OF THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE AND THE DEPARTMENT OF HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT" dated in 1999, and entitled "GROUP HOMES, LOCAL LAND USE, AND THE FAIR HOUSING ACT" "... A local government may generally restrict the ability of groups of unrelated persons to live together as long as the restrictions are imposed on all such groups. Thus, in the case where a family is defined to include up to six unrelated people, an ordinance would not, on its face, violate the Act if a group home for seven people with disabilities was not allowed to locate in a single family zoned neighborhood, because a group of seven unrelated people without disabilities would also be disallowed... If the criteria for reasonable accommodation are met, the permit would have to be given in that instance, but the ordinance would not be invalid in all circumstances. " (my italics)

I understand that that one of the two excerpts deals with due process and the other with fair housing, but shouldn't the DOJ and HUD consider due process? Why would they have made such a statement so recently if supreme court rulings disallow limiting unrelated persons in a family? Is due process in NY so different from due process elsewhere? Do such statements as the DOJ/HUD one above carry any authority at all in court?
And a couple more questions, equally likely to expose my ignorance: could a municipality define a single family dwelling as having up to a certain no. of bedrooms, such as four? Could the definition of bedroom specify the room is designed for (rather than limited to, so as not to create an enforcement nightmare) occupancy by two or fewer people (excluding infants)? If you can't limit family size, thus opening up the door for higher densities than are appropriate in a certain area, is it possible to limit newly-constructed dwellings in this way? I understand it is possible to put simple occupancy caps on dwellings, which seems like a similar method to me... Thank you for reading this, and for any help anyone wants to give!
 

CDT

Cyburbian
Messages
198
Points
7
Definition of Family

Not sure if this has been discussed previously. Probably it has.

Anyway, can you please tell me your definition of family, specifically the number of unrelated people permitted in the definition of family. We've got a violation, big surprise, and wanted to look at the average number of non-related personal permitted in the definition of family. Our current ordinance definition allows no more than three unrelated people, which I suspect is pretty typical.

I don't really want to get into a discussion on the legality of defining the family because my personal opinion is that I don't believe we have the right to define it and I know the courts have refused to define it based on fair housing. I've already advised our officials on that, but they still would like to know the typically number of unrelated persons that other jurisdictions allow.
 

NHPlanner

A shadow of my former self
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
9,901
Points
38
Not sure if this has been discussed previously. Probably it has.

Anyway, can you please tell me your definition of family, specifically the number of unrelated people permitted in the definition of family. We've got a violation, big surprise, and wanted to look at the average number of non-related personal permitted in the definition of family. Our current ordinance definition allows no more than three unrelated people, which I suspect is pretty typical.

I don't really want to get into a discussion on the legality of defining the family because my personal opinion is that I don't believe we have the right to define it and I know the courts have refused to define it based on fair housing. I've already advised our officials on that, but they still would like to know the typically number of unrelated persons that other jurisdictions allow.
Moderator note:

Merged into existing thread on same topic.
 

otterpop

Cyburbian
Messages
6,655
Points
28
Our's kind of prohibits college students from living togeather in single family districts.
The City of Missoula had such a definition. Which was controversial for a while. Of course that was eight years ago. I don't know if they have changed it since then.

Our county has no definition for "family".
 
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