Four Unrelated Is Over

May 9th, 2024
Somerville historically had a zoning ordinance limiting housing units to at most four unrelated people:

any number of persons related by blood, marriage, adoption, or foster care agreement and up to three (3) additional unrelated persons living together as a single housekeeping unit

This is something I'd been unhappy about for years, and was enthusiastic about the "4 unrelated is outdated" campaign to change it in in 2018. So I'm very happy that after a request for a variance the city council instead ended up removing the restriction.

The actual change was in November, so I'm a bit late on this!

I also think there was an oversight, where the removal didn't include changing the text in section 7-153 which says "All schools shall be responsible for publicizing to their students the limitations of the city's zoning ordinance which limits occupancy to not more than four unrelated individuals." I've written to the city council to let them know.

I've also noticed that several school-affiliated sites still list this limitation:

I've written to Tufts and Harvard to let them know this has changed. I wasn't able to find this listed on any MIT or Lesley sites, and didn't check all the other Boston-area college websites.

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