Occupancy restrictions meant to limit the number of adults living in a single family home were once again the main topic of conversation during the Nov. 5 Reynoldsburg City Council meeting.
Since May, council has been wrestling with the issue of boarding houses for immigrant workers that are zoned for single-family use. The proposed updates would require a minimum square footage per adult occupant and specific bedroom and bathroom requirements, features designed to tackle overcrowding issues.
The looming issue is one of enforcement. Many council members understand the need for an updated ordinance but worried that enforcement of the ordinance would continue to be difficult.
Councilman Brett Baxter stated that such legislation would be very hard to enforce and expressed concerned that they city maybe stepping on the rights of homeowners.
City Attorney Jed Hood acknowledged that enforcement would not be easy.
"We are trying to gain volunteer compliance with all our codes," said Hood. "Ultimately, enforcement of this ordinance would fall upon the city’s code enforcement officers."
Councilwoman Donna Shirey said that she could understand the purpose of the proposed code amendment but felt it was in violation of people’s rights.
"One of these days it’s going to come down to someone telling me where I can eat and go to the bathroom," Shirey said.
Resident Diane Seaton questioned the need for such legislation. "As a citizen of Reynoldsburg I can’t wrap my hands around the reason for this."
Seaton ask the council to explain why such ordinance is needed.
Councilman Mel Clemens stated that neighborhood homes used for boarding seasonal workers are the heart of the proposed amendment additions.
Clemens also stated that at the present time, the matter of boarding houses is small issue.
"But small problems turn into big problems, said Clemens adding, "It’s not such a small problem if it’s next door to you."
A conclusion could not be agreed upon and the topic remains open for discussion.