Roommates on alert: you could be violating the law

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - The 19th Judicial District Court Judge Janice Clark listened to testimony Tuesday that described a 1950's era ordinance as archaic. Steven Myers is the defendant in the case which seeks to have him evict four former and current LSU students from a house they are renting from him on Cherry Dale Ave. The lawsuit is being pushed by Paul Naquin who lives in the neighborhood.

According to the City-Parish Unified Development Code, residential neighborhoods zoned A-1 can only have "single family" occupants in them. In the code "family" is described as "an individual or two or more persons who are related by blood, marriage, or legal adoption living together." The suit seeks to have Myers slapped with an injunction prohibiting him from renting.

"Mr. Naquin wants birth certificates," says Myers. "Every landlord to get a birth certificate and hospital records to show how people are related. It's pretty onerous."

"I'm not the only one that's concerned," says Naquin. "I feel very passionate. I know tons of residents in A-1 single family houses that are just very concerned about what's happening. People are coming in buying a house and filling it with 5, 6, 7 people and it's totally out of the contest of single family neighborhoods."

Myers was mad at the law suit and is counter-suing the City-Parish seeking to have the ordinance declared unconstitutional. Plus it's not just about college students. Dana Berkowitz an LSU sociologist testified on Myers behalf talking about the changing definitions of family-noting examples like couples now choosing to live together without being married, same sex couples with foster kids, or even senior citizens sharing a home as a means of saving money.

Testimony wrapped up Tuesday afternoon. Judge Clark gave everyone a week to file post trial briefs.

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