Add domestic partners to 'family' definition, Columbia zoning board urges

Friday, November 8, 2013 | 5:07 p.m. CST

COLUMBIA — Columbia's domestic partners, including same-sex couples, may soon achieve equality in a relatively obscure realm: the city's residential zoning ordinance.

On Thursday, Columbia's Planning and Zoning Commission voted unanimously to recommend that the city add domestic partners to the zoning ordinance's definition of family.

The zoning ordinance needs to include a definition of "family" because the city gives some homes designations that specify how many families can live there, such as a single-family or multifamily designation.

Under a strict reading of the current language, a pair of domestic partners with children could theoretically exceed a single-family residence's occupancy limit.

The change would cover residents who have registered domestic partnerships with the Columbia Department of Public Health and Human Services. The department lists seven requirements for domestic partnerships; none excludes same-sex couples from registering as partners.

Tim Teddy, community development director, said that the city has never had a problem with domestic partners tipping a residence into over-occupancy but that people in city government realized its definition of family wasn't adequate.

"We just want to be proactive," he said.

The City Council will vote on the ordinance's final language. Its next meeting is Nov. 18.

Like what you see here? Become a member.

Show Me the Errors (What's this?)

Report corrections or additions here. Leave comments below here.

You must be logged in to participate in the Show Me the Errors contest.


Leave a comment

Speak up and join the conversation! Make sure to follow the guidelines outlined below and register with our site. You must be logged in to comment. (Our full comment policy is here.)

  • Don't use obscene, profane or vulgar language.
  • Don't use language that makes personal attacks on fellow commenters or discriminates based on race, religion, gender or ethnicity.
  • Use your real first and last name when registering on the website. It will be published with every comment. (Read why we ask for that here.)
  • Don’t solicit or promote businesses.

We are not able to monitor every comment that comes through. If you see something objectionable, please click the "Report comment" link.

You must be logged in to comment.

Forget your password?

Don't have an account? Register here.