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Watertown lawmakers vote in favor of limiting roommates

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CNY/NNY/S. Tier: Watertown lawmakers vote in favor of limiting roommates
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WATERTOWN, N.Y. -- Lawmakers in Watertown came to a decision that brings more questions than answers. Mainly, can government decide what is and what isn't a family?

By a vote of three to two, Watertown's City Council amended a law Monday night that dictates how many roommates a homeowner can have in a single family home in a residential neighborhood. The law used to allow four. Now, it's zero.

A woman living on Thompson Boulevard in the city brought concerns to the council because she said her neighbor was living with his fiancé and two other roommates and didn't want to see it become a regular thing. Three lawmakers agreed.

But the argument against it is that not only would enforcing it be difficult, but in tough economic times and with traditional families giving way to the modern ones, this is a black and white way to define family.

"Fundamentally, I think it's wrong that we put these kinds of procedures and policies in place. Really all we're doing is hurting the people who live in this community," said Watertown City Councilwoman Teresa Macaluso.

Macaluso says in these tough times, a roommate could be needed to keep someone from losing a home, there's soldiers who need roommates and also same-sex couples would be harmed.

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