By Hailey Persinger
Killeen Daily Herald
Any group of more than three unrelated individuals wishing to live under the same roof will now be required to split up, according to a Killeen housing ordinance passed Tuesday.
The Killeen City Council unanimously approved the ordinance its members have debated for several weeks. Before Tuesday, the city had no restrictions on the number of unrelated people in one residence. But the new ordinance limits the number of roommates to three and defines a family as "any number of individuals living together as a single housekeeping unit, in which not more than three adults are unrelated by blood, marriage, adoption or guardianship."
The ordinance also requires leases to last at least 30 days, an amount of time Councilman Juan Rivera asked the council to increase to at least six months.
"(This) might get us into conflict," said Mayor Pro Tem Scott Cosper, referring to some rental properties that require month-to-month payments after a renter works out his or her initial lease. "If that doesn't work … we could review and make it stronger in the future."
Though the council OK'd the measure, the ordinance lacks any strategies for enforcement, a worry for Councilman Kenny Wells.
Since city officials are not permitted to conduct checks on the number of individuals in a home or whether they are related, City Planner Tony McIlwain said residents will have to carry most of the responsibility when it comes to reporting violations.
McIlwain said eventually the ordinance will include enforcement measures but that those would need to be revisited.
"It's going to fall back on the residents to do the right thing," McIlwain said. "(The ordinance) is right now the first of what we suspect will be many steps."
Also during the meeting, the council:
Held a closed-session meeting regarding the "potential exchange, purchase, lease or value of real property in the downtown area."
Approved the purchase of $700,000 worth of furniture and equipment for the new police station.
Unanimously voted to appoint Councilman Billy Workman and former Councilman Otis Evans to the Special Events Center Ad Hoc Committee despite resistance during the workshop regarding their appointment.
Contact Hailey Persinger at email@example.com or (254) 501-7568. Follow her on Twitter at KDHcity.