Roommate limit gains supportRoommate limit gains support in Lexington County

tflach@thestate.comApril 16, 2013 

— A proposal to limit the number of roommates who can live together in Lexington gained the endorsement Tuesday of the town Planning Commission.

“It seems we have some consensus this is a good idea,” commission chairman Keith Frost said of the panel’s agreement that the restriction be put in place.

The decision sets the stage for Town Council to move forward with an idea that hasn’t attracted opposition.

It came after the nine members of the panel settled on four as the maximum number of unrelated persons who can reside in the same dwelling. There currently is no limit.

That ceiling makes it easier for single parents with a few children or couples to live together as a money-saving step, supporters said.

Some town leaders are promoting the limit as an anti-crime measure while acknowledging that trouble among roommates is rare in the town of 18,000 residents.

The restriction is common elsewhere to prevent overcrowding among college students and migrant workers, groups whose numbers are small in the steadily growing community.

Setting a limit is “positioning us for the future,” Mayor Randy Halfacre said. “We don’t have an issue right now, but it’s better to be proactive, adopting it before something becomes a problem.”

The proposed restriction wouldn’t affect families regardless of the number of relatives living in the same home. It also wouldn’t apply to families with adopted and foster children.

Adoption of the limit could occur as soon as early summer.

It’s a tool likely to be employed rarely, town planning director John Hanson said.

“If it ever gets used, it will be for egregious (violations),” he predicted. “It’s better to have it and not need it.”

Reach Flach at (803) 771-8483.

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