Who Counts as Family? A Rich Connecticut Neighborhood* Tests the Boundaries

Who Counts as Family? A Rich Connecticut Neighborhood* Tests the Boundaries November 28, 2014

via Ratty, and super-relevant to conversations here about friendship as kinship:

A neighborhood kerfuffle on one of the city’s wealthiest residential streets has triggered a cease-and-desist order, fervent appeals and debate over what constitutes a family.

The controversy centers on 68 Scarborough St., a nine-bedroom brick mansion shared by eight adults and three children — an arrangement among longtime friends who share monthly expenses, chores and legal ownership of the stately home, said Julia Rosenblatt, who lives there with her husband and two kids.

The residents bought the nearly 6,000-square-foot house for $453,000 in August, although only two of the owners are listed on the mortgage and city property record. They take turns cooking dinner, have pooled money into one bank account and entertained themselves last week with a family talent show because, Rosenblatt said Thursday, “we intentionally came together as a family.”

But a coalition of neighbors, while conceding that the occupants of 68 Scarborough “are nice people,” have argued that the nontraditional household violates the neighborhood’s zoning for single-family homes. Living in the house are two couples with children, a couple with no children and two individuals.

About three weeks ago, 68 Scarborough was hit with a cease-and-desist order from the city after zoning officials determined that the setup “doesn’t meet the definition of a family,” said Thomas Deller, the city’s director of development services, which oversees zoning code enforcement. The city’s code defines members of a family as those related by blood, marriage, civil union or legal adoption. …

In a statement to the West End Civic Association, which may decide to issue a recommendation to the city, the neighbors compared the use of a single dwelling by multiple families to “an apartment building, or a rooming house, or a fraternity house.” The letter was endorsed by the residents of 16 homes on Scarborough Street and a couple who lives on neighboring Asylum Ave.

more (*changed from “town” since the Courant only says the neighborhood is wealthy–I know basically nothing about Hartford as a whole)


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