By Hailey Persinger
Killeen Daily Herald
The Killeen City Council reached a consensus to vote on a housing ordinance amendment Tuesday but not without some resistance from council and staff members.
Council members – some with more zeal than others – discussed during Tuesday's council workshop amendments that would mandate that no more than three unrelated adults live under the same roof and require renters to spend a minimum of 30 days in a rental property.
The amendments were first proposed after residents contacted several council members complaining of neighbors seeming to be constantly moving in and out of homes while packing large numbers of roommates into houses.
Though council members have discussed the amendments several times since the planning department first proposed them in February, Councilman Juan Rivera said he still felt unsure about the 30-day minimum stay amendment and asked that the restrictions be even tighter.
The ordinance prohibits the building of boardinghouses in residential zones but Rivera said the 30-day minimum stay for renters was simply not long enough and threatened action if boardinghouse-like establishments were allowed next to residences.
"I'd probably step down off city council to keep boarding homes away from R-1 sections," he said. He also said he'd petition to keep such establishments out of neighborhoods. "I'm not going stand to the side and see people moving around my home every 30 days."
After Rivera's argument, Mayor Tim Hancock told council members that regardless of how passionate they are for or against the amendments, the only thing they could do was "ask the staff to make it as restrictive as (is) legal."
The most restrictive amendment would change the number of unrelated housemates to two, a number that City Attorney Kathy Davis said would still be difficult to enforce.
"Are we going to do hair samples and take DNA?" she asked. Enforcement of the ordinance, she said, would also require those sharing a home to present marriage certificates or proof of blood relation.
"The majority of people are going to do what's right but there's always going to be a percentage of people who aren't going to follow the rules," she said.
Despite the arguments from Rivera and the responses from Hancock and Davis, the council decided to vote on the amendments during its March 9 meeting.
Contact Hailey Persinger at firstname.lastname@example.org or (254) 501-7568. Follow her on Twitter at KDHcity.