Category Archives: occupancy-limits

A few thoughts on occupancy limits in Provo

The law needs to change. People are literally being driven from their homes—being threatened with lawsuits by the city of Provo, essentially evicted from homes with more than enough space for them. Were they a husband and wife and brother and sister-in-law, plus children, they would be permitted to remain and have as many cars as they wanted. But because these are four unrelated individuals living together, the city threatens a criminal lawsuit against their landlord and forces them to move, disrupting relationships, wasting time, and making them feel distinctly unwelcome.

This just happened to my friends, two doors down from me. It fits better in a dystopian novel for young adults than in a free society like Provo.

Many reasons have been given for the occupancy limit in Provo. People say they need to preserve single-family homes for nuclear families with children. People say parking is out of control. People complain there won’t be children for their children to play with or to attract funding to their schools. I literally heard a man complain on Sunday that Polynesians and Latinos would immigrate here in greater numbers without such an occupancy limit.

Some of these reasons are noble, some of them are despicable. The noble ones can all be addressed more directly and justly than by kicking single people out of their homes. School boundaries and ward boundaries can be redrawn. Parking can be regulated directly on a per-neighborhood basis. But government should not be enlisted to make sure all your neighbors look and act and live like you. Government should not be asked to socially engineer society in one group’s favor, to the exclusion and expulsion of other groups.

Regarding parking, Provo City already has a parking permit program that could be used to address that problem directly: https://www.provo.org/about-us/current-issues/parking-permit-programs

If there are specific neighborhoods where parking is a problem (and we all know there are) then parking in that neighborhood should be regulated. Kicking single people out of their houses may indirectly help with parking, but so would kicking out teenagers or married people or black people or gay people.

If parking is the issue, then let’s fix parking. If school boundaries are the issue, then let’s fix school boundaries. But let’s stop using Provo city government as a weapon against its own citizens. This injustice is happening now, and it needs to stop.