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View Full Version : Mo. Town Denies Unmarried Couple Permit


BIG_DADDY
05-17-2006, 02:28 PM
BLACK JACK, Mo. - The city council has rejected a measure allowing unmarried couples with multiple children to live together, and the mayor said those who fall into that category could soon face eviction.

Olivia Shelltrack and Fondrey Loving were denied an occupancy permit after moving into a home in this St. Louis suburb because they have three children and are not married.

The town's planning and zoning commission proposed a change in the law, but the measure was rejected Tuesday by the city council in a 5-3 vote.

"I'm just shocked," Shelltrack said. "I really thought this would all be over, and we could go on with our lives."

The current ordinance prohibits more than three people from living together unless they are related by "blood, marriage or adoption." The defeated measure would have changed the definition of a family to include unmarried couples with two or more children.

Mayor Norman McCourt declined to be interviewed but said in a statement that those who do not meet the town's definition of family could soon face eviction.

Black Jack's special counsel, Sheldon Stock, declined to say whether the city will seek to remove Loving and Shelltrack from their home.

penchief
05-17-2006, 04:34 PM
BLACK JACK, Mo. - The city council has rejected a measure allowing unmarried couples with multiple children to live together, and the mayor said those who fall into that category could soon face eviction.

Olivia Shelltrack and Fondrey Loving were denied an occupancy permit after moving into a home in this St. Louis suburb because they have three children and are not married.

The town's planning and zoning commission proposed a change in the law, but the measure was rejected Tuesday by the city council in a 5-3 vote.

"I'm just shocked," Shelltrack said. "I really thought this would all be over, and we could go on with our lives."

The current ordinance prohibits more than three people from living together unless they are related by "blood, marriage or adoption." The defeated measure would have changed the definition of a family to include unmarried couples with two or more children.

Mayor Norman McCourt declined to be interviewed but said in a statement that those who do not meet the town's definition of family could soon face eviction.

Black Jack's special counsel, Sheldon Stock, declined to say whether the city will seek to remove Loving and Shelltrack from their home.

Wow.

Ultra Peanut
05-17-2006, 07:25 PM
IT AIN'T WHAT GOD INTENDED

Adept Havelock
05-17-2006, 08:02 PM
Petty theocrats. How pathetic.

Cochise
05-17-2006, 08:21 PM
Petty theocrats. How pathetic.

I guess I didn't see where their motivation was expressed in the article. Nice assumption.

the Talking Can
05-17-2006, 08:35 PM
American Taliban

Logical
05-17-2006, 09:00 PM
I guess I didn't see where their motivation was expressed in the article. Nice assumption.What other assumption would make sense?

Adept Havelock
05-17-2006, 09:46 PM
I guess I didn't see where their motivation was expressed in the article. Nice assumption.I've never been to Titan, but based on the size and density of that moon I assume the gravity there is about 1/10 of the Earths.

You're quite correct Cochise. It's an assumption. I suppose they could be militant athiests who are absolute fanatics about people getting a piece of paper from city hall before they are allowed to cohabitate. :hmmm:

What other assumption would make sense?

Indeed.

Boozer
05-17-2006, 09:56 PM
When you support restrictions on gays, this is the next step you can expect.

Cochise
05-17-2006, 11:18 PM
I've never been to Titan, but based on the size and density of that moon I assume the gravity there is about 1/10 of the Earths.

You're quite correct Cochise. It's an assumption. I suppose they could be militant athiests who are absolute fanatics about people getting a piece of paper from city hall before they are allowed to cohabitate. :hmmm:



Indeed.

I lived in another town in Missouri where (supposedly) this rule existed because they had a problem with brothels back in the day. What bearing that has on today, who knows? I was just annoyed by the "well, here's something I don't like, blame those religious folk."

There's another town in this area where there is a minimum square footage for a house built in the city limits. Some don't allow mobile homes. Is that descrimination against lower incomes?

I guess that it comes down to whether or not you think the elected city government should be in the process of filtering what type of people they want to make up their city. But they are elected :shrug:

Nightwish
05-17-2006, 11:32 PM
Black Jack has been under fire for this law for quite awhile now. I know I was hearing a lot about it last summer, with locals complaining that it was petty and unnecessary (Black Jack is just up the road from me; it's part of Florissant, for all intents and purposes, and I live right at the Florissant/Hazelwood line). I wouldn't be surprised to see this sort of thing in some of the smaller rural towns, but it surprises me to see it right here in the metro, since this is one of the most liberal (if not the most liberal) cities in the state.

Boozer
05-17-2006, 11:36 PM
I guess that it comes down to whether or not you think the elected city government should be in the process of filtering what type of people they want to make up their city. But they are elected :shrug:

I've seen the law school "Local Government" class described as "Learn how the most expansive powers available to any government in America are reside in a commitee comprising real estate agent, a dentist, and a store owner."

Nightwish
05-18-2006, 12:27 AM
I've seen the law school "Local Government" class described as "Learn how the most expansive powers available to any government in America are reside in a commitee comprising real estate agent, a dentist, and a store owner."
As funny as it sounds, that is how it should be. Who better to govern the local affairs of a town than its own people? As much as this affair in Black Jack disturbs me, it seems to be what the people of that town want, for now, and who am I to say they can't run their town as they see fit? They are, after all, elected officials, and if they don't act according to the wishes of their constituents, they run the risk of being ousted at the next election.

Boozer
05-18-2006, 12:31 AM
As funny as it sounds, that is how it should be. Who better to govern the local affairs of a town than its own people? As much as this affair in Black Jack disturbs me, it seems to be what the people of that town want, for now, and who am I to say they can't run their town as they see fit? They are, after all, elected officials, and if they don't act according to the wishes of their constituents, they run the risk of being ousted at the next election.

How much do you know about they guys you voted for in the last city council race? Not much, right? That So-And-So is the local tailor and always gives you good prices? Certainly less than you know about Bush or Kerry, or your senators, governor, etc., right?

I'm all for the local government ideal, but it only washes in an ideal situation. Fact is, you don't know shit about your local office candidates, and neither does anyone else. How does a totally uninformed electorate help matters?

Nightwish
05-18-2006, 12:51 AM
How much do you know about they guys you voted for in the last city council race? Not much, right? That So-And-So is the local tailor and always gives you good prices? Certainly less than you know about Bush or Kerry, or your senators, governor, etc., right?

I'm all for the local government ideal, but it only washes in an ideal situation. Fact is, you don't know shit about your local office candidates, and neither does anyone else. How does a totally uninformed electorate help matters?That's more true of large towns than of small towns. In the Mayberries of the nation, nobody has secrets, hehe. Of course, Black Jack, while not a large town, is a metro burb, so it has all the characteristics of a large town. But I suspect that won't be a problem on the next go-round, at least with respect to this particular issue, due to the publicity that it's been getting lately.

Adept Havelock
05-18-2006, 06:53 AM
I lived in another town in Missouri where (supposedly) this rule existed because they had a problem with brothels back in the day. What bearing that has on today, who knows? I was just annoyed by the "well, here's something I don't like, blame those religious folk." First off, I didn't blame "religious folk" in general, I blamed "petty theocrats". Specifically, the type of extremist "religious folk" who want to legislate their vision of how they think people should live. Nice misrepresentation and generalization on your part to match my assumption.
There's another town in this area where there is a minimum square footage for a house built in the city limits. Some don't allow mobile homes. Is that descrimination against lower incomes? Oh, come on Cochise. You're smarter than this. Are you seriously trying to say there's no difference between building codes like those and blatant social engineering like this? :hmmm:
I guess that it comes down to whether or not you think the elected city government should be in the process of filtering what type of people they want to make up their city. But they are elected :shrug:A town doesn't want to allow unmarried folks with children to cohabitate? In a free society, I have a problem with that.

Should a town also be allowed to decide that only people of a certain color or race are allowed to cohabitate? Or perhaps people within a certain income level? Should a town be allowed to bar anyone with an arrest on their record? Should a town be permitted to ban anyone who has a tattoo or likes to wear eccentric clothing? How about permitting a town to decide to disallow homosexuals to take up residence? To me, this is no different. Yes, local law should be respected, but not at the expense of allowing blatant discrimination like this.

Conhabitation in a case like this just isn't the governments business, be it local, state, or federal. :shrug:

Personally, I find supporting government regulation over such personal issues an interesting position for a conservative to take.

I hope they fight this in the courts. Just a hunch, but something tells me that if this decision gets appealed, that law will eventually get struck down. Not being a lawyer, nor having slept at a Holiday Inn Express last night, I wouldn't presume to state under what provisions. As I said, just a hunch.

No matter how they dress it up, I'd be quite amazed if this had any basis other than a bunch of amatuer theocratic Gladys Kravitzs trying to engineer "Pleasantville".

Boozer
05-18-2006, 07:52 AM
I hope they fight this in the courts. Just a hunch, but something tells me that if this decision gets appealed, that law will eventually get struck down. Not being a lawyer, nor having slept at a Holiday Inn Express last night, I wouldn't presume to state under what provisions. As I said, just a hunch.


The regulation is most likely valid. These types of restrictions have gone to the courts before. Unmarried couples are not a suspect class, and you don't have a "freedom of association" right to choose who you live with. As such, its reviewed under the rational basis standard, where its good so long as it's "rationally related" to some valid aim. It doesn't have to be a good fit, or even effective at all. Here, that would be the interest in a well-zoned community, promotion of legitimacy of children, etc.

Unless there's some other state regulation that the city ran afoul of, the city ordinance will stand.

jspchief
05-18-2006, 08:07 AM
Someone posted the intial story on this a while back. It said the intent of the law had nothing to do with marriage. It was geared towards stifling overcrowding. It was really about limiting he number of people that can live in one house, but they had to allow the "family" provision because you can't exactly tell a family how many kids they can have.

Obviously, by upholding the law in this situation, the city council is fully aware that it's going beyond the original intent.

By the way, I also think it's a black man and a white woman. I'm not one to pull the race card, but in this situation, I can't help but wonder.

Baby Lee
05-18-2006, 09:09 AM
What other assumption would make sense?
Brothels, Boarding Houses, Communes, Way Houses for illegal immigrants.

jspchief
05-18-2006, 09:13 AM
Brothels, Boarding Houses, Communes, Way Houses for illegal immigrants.No doubt that was the original intent of the law. But when presented with a situation that seems more reasonable, the city council still chose not to alter the law for this case that comes nowhere close to the scenarios you mentioned.

As Black Jack's mayor, Norman McCourt, put it recently at a city council meeting: "It's overcrowding because it's not a single family. It's a single-family residence and they're not a single family."

I don't know about you, but that sounds a little disingenuous to me.

banyon
05-18-2006, 09:44 AM
Lawrence passed this ordinance too,
to avoid becoming a "slum".

But I think we at least exempted unmarried couples with children.

http://www2.ljworld.com/news/2005/jul/31/city_seen_lax_rental_ordinance/

of course we don't enforce it, because that would piss the student ghetto landlords off.

Baby Lee
05-18-2006, 09:46 AM
No doubt that was the original intent of the law. But when presented with a situation that seems more reasonable, the city council still chose not to alter the law for this case that comes nowhere close to the scenarios you mentioned.

As Black Jack's mayor, Norman McCourt, put it recently at a city council meeting: "It's overcrowding because it's not a single family. It's a single-family residence and they're not a single family."

I don't know about you, but that sounds a little disingenuous to me.
I was responding to Logical's narrower. . . [minded] question. ;)

patteeu
05-18-2006, 02:27 PM
Lawrence passed this ordinance too,
to avoid becoming a "slum".

Too late. That became inevitable in 1865 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/University_of_Kansas).

banyon
05-18-2006, 02:57 PM
Too late. That became inevitable in 1865 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/University_of_Kansas).

I forgot, are you :mizzou: scum, or a Roo?

jAZ
05-18-2006, 02:59 PM
The current ordinance prohibits more than three people from living together unless they are related by "blood, marriage or adoption." The defeated measure would have changed the definition of a family to include unmarried couples with two or more children.
Wow, this can't be legal if for no other reason than that it doesn't permit an exception for legal guardianship.

Logical
05-18-2006, 03:18 PM
Brothels, Boarding Houses, Communes, Way Houses for illegal immigrants.

Honestly do brothels have two unmarried people with children renting an apartment? Even if the answer is yes is that still not a religion based ruling.

What is bad about a commune, why should that be illegal? I don't see how that fits, you could be right and I may be missing the point you are making.

Illegal immigrants are already illegal why would you need this law?

Baby Lee
05-18-2006, 03:49 PM
Honestly do brothels have two unmarried people with children renting an apartment? Even if the answer is yes is that still not a religion based ruling.

What is bad about a commune, why should that be illegal? I don't see how that fits, you could be right and I may be missing the point you are making.

Illegal immigrants are already illegal why would you need this law?
The point I'm making is that communities can take measures to zone residential areas with the aim of providing a settled expectation of desireable neighborhood without being petty theocrats. A point that it appeared eluded you earlier.
And excluding brothels is no more a 'religion based ruling' than excluding rehab houses, parole houses, halfway houses, sex offender relocation, etc.

But I expect your sanguinity about impingement on the desireability of a neighborhood isn't rooted in your personal level of comfort with anyone/everyone as a neighbor.

patteeu
05-18-2006, 04:09 PM
I forgot, are you :mizzou: scum, or a Roo?

I'm a life-long fan of :mizzou: sports, but I'm not an alum. I went to UM-Rolla. My wife graduated from UMKC, but I don't have any allegiance to them.

Baby Lee
05-18-2006, 04:17 PM
I'm a life-long fan of :mizzou: sports, but I'm not an alum. I went to UM-Rolla. My wife graduated from UMKC, but I don't have any allegiance to them.
UM-Rolla, lotta women, just not very many.

banyon
05-18-2006, 04:44 PM
I'm a life-long fan of :mizzou: sports, but I'm not an alum. I went to UM-Rolla. My wife graduated from UMKC, but I don't have any allegiance to them.

That's right UM-Rolla.

What's their mascot?

Nightwish
05-18-2006, 04:45 PM
Black Jack's special counsel, Sheldon Stock, declined to say whether the city will seek to remove Loving and Shelltrack from their home.
I think it was Saturday or Sunday that I most recently saw a report about this on the local news. They did record one of the mayor's representatives as saying that plans were underway to force compliance with this rule on the part of all Black Jack residents, beginning on Monday (which was this past Monday). Whether that means they are going to start serving eviction notices this week, or just try to coerce people into getting married, I don't know. They did play a recording of a phone conversation between one of the couple and a city official, where the official was heard haranguing the couple and trying to talk them into getting married.

banyon
05-18-2006, 05:02 PM
Nevermind I found him...the Miners

http://campus.umr.edu/sports/springindex.jpg

He looks like one of the 'necks that would've tried to burn down Lawrence all right.

:p

Was your law school MU?

BIG_DADDY
05-18-2006, 05:20 PM
I think it was Saturday or Sunday that I most recently saw a report about this on the local news. They did record one of the mayor's representatives as saying that plans were underway to force compliance with this rule on the part of all Black Jack residents, beginning on Monday (which was this past Monday). Whether that means they are going to start serving eviction notices this week, or just try to coerce people into getting married, I don't know. They did play a recording of a phone conversation between one of the couple and a city official, where the official was heard haranguing the couple and trying to talk them into getting married.

What a bunch of stupid crap. You would think that people would figure out that this may not be the place you would want to live.

Nightwish
05-18-2006, 05:32 PM
What a bunch of stupid crap. You would think that people would figure out that this may not be the place you would want to live.I think one of the main reasons why people are attracted to the Black Jack area of Florissant is that it is one of the few parts of the metro where you can still find a decent quality house for a decent price. Everywhere else, either the land values have gone up, or the neighborhoods are getting really run down. And, of course, since the townsfolk know the area is attractive to new homebuyers, they have a certain amount of leeway in legislating community ideals.

patteeu
05-18-2006, 05:54 PM
UM-Rolla, lotta women, just not very many.

:LOL:

patteeu
05-18-2006, 05:59 PM
Nevermind I found him...the Miners

http://campus.umr.edu/sports/springindex.jpg

He looks like one of the 'necks that would've tried to burn down Lawrence all right.

:p

Was your law school MU?

No, I went to the same law school as defender-of-the-Bush-family James Baker and internet legend Mike Godwin (of Godwin's Law). University of Texas. I root for the Longhorns when they aren't competing with the Tigers.

listopencil
05-20-2006, 06:30 PM
When you support restrictions on gays, this is the next step you can expect.


No shit. Very well said.