City Council to read rental housing proposal for second time

City Council will present the proposal to regulate rental housing for a second reading at 7:30 tonight at City Hall.

The bill, among other things, recommends a change to prohibit more than three unrelated people from living together in a house that is newly converted to a rental home.

In mid-May the Indiana Court of Appeals deemed a similar Bloomington ordinance unconstitutional, leaving the future of Muncie's three-unrelated rule uncertain.

City Attorney Frank Gilkison said the Bloomington ruling may not affect Muncie's legislation until the state supreme court decides to accept or deny a petition to transfer by Bloomington.

"The case is still open," Gilkison said. "It's not been finally decided."

The Council's land and traffic committee had previously recommended removing the three-unrelated rule from the housing proposal. But the proposal was introduced at the May meeting with the three-unrelated rule included.

President Bill Shroyer said the Council can vote the bill up or down, send it back to the land and traffic committee for more changes, or table it at the upcoming meeting.

Gary Rice, president of the Apartment Association of East Central Indiana, said the association supported all proposed changes to the housing code, except the three-unrelated rule.

"We're hoping City Council will look at that (ruling) and realize that particular part of the ordinance should not even be included," Rice said.

Bill Morgan, co-vice president of the Riverside-Normal City Neighborhood Association, said he would be surprised if City Council passes the proposal with the three-unrelated rule.

Morgan said an absence of the three-unrelated rule will just make the other proposals within the ordinance even more important.

"(The other changes) are obviously not as strong as we would like to see," Morgan said. "But they are a great step in the right direction."

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