WDM City Council in Your Living Room

Scenic Vista Drive: From Google Street ViewScenic Vista Drive: From Google Street ViewThe West Des Moines City Council placed itself in citizens' living rooms this evening when it adopted an ordinance dictating that no more than three "unrelated" adults may live in a single-family home.

People most likely to be affected:

  • Same-sex couples
  • Immigrants
  • Non-traditional families
  • Economically struggling families
  • Young homeowners

Ordinances like this have not-so-hidden racial and economic undertones. While Iowa courts have found other cities' attempts constitutional, that doesn't make it right.

There are legitimate reasons to restrict the number of people who may reside in a house: building codes already have standards regarding how many people can safely inhabit a dwelling unit. The number of people has nothing to do with the relationship between the residents. A good example of this is same-sex couples, who are currently not recognized by the State as being related. Regardless of what the politicians say, this legislation is intended to restrict the types of people who can live in West Des Moines.

Welcome, Travis!

According to the DM Register, 26-year-old Travis Hulstein bought a $165,000 home last year and lives with three friends who help pay the mortgage. Said Hulstein, "By passing ordinances like these, we're making it next to impossible for single - predominantly young - homeowners to buy a decent home and establish long-term residency in the state."

Travis, by looking only in West Des Moines you are needlessly limiting your options. I know many many people your age who have discovered the key to buying a decent home and establishing long-term residency is not in the suburbs, but rather, in the city of Des Moines proper. We want you to live here and are not going to pass an ordinance telling you you have to live like the rest of us in order to be welcome. [UPDATE 10/15/08: Turns out, according to the DM Register, Des Moines does have a similar ordinance specifying four "unrelated" people as the maximum. I have edited the next few paragraphs to reflect this. I have been unable to locate the text online. ]

You and your friends are hereby cordially invited to live in the City of Des Moines!

My HouseMy House: In the Drake Neighborhood, with an actual front porch that is good for actually hanging out In the city, it is possible to purchase more house for less than in West Des Moines. The neighborhoods are more diverse and vibrant. I have never had a safety concern.

I have a beautiful, historic, single-family house in the Drake neighborhood that I purchased for less than $165,000. Many of the homes here have four bedrooms. If you purchase within its service area (including the Drake neighborhood), Neighborhood Finance Corporation will give you $12,500 to help with updates and/or maintenance items on a historic home.

The Des Moines Rehabbers Club can help you with referrals anytime you need something fixed.

The Drake neighborhood is within walking distance of a variety of nightlife, restaurants, and shopping on Ingersoll, as well as cultural events at Drake University. My neighbor often enjoys walking to her job at Principal downtown. We are connected by bike trail to Gray's Lake.

My neighborhood has families of all different types and configurations. There is an active neighborhood association, and many neighborhood events including a farmers market, National Night Out and an annual house tour.

Please feel free to Contact me for more information about purchasing a home in the wonderful Drake neighborhood.


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