Did you know that in some towns you need an “occupancy permit” to move into a home you’ve purchased? I didn’t, and apparently one unmarried couple in Black Jack, Missouri didn’t, either.
Worse yet, because the couple doesn’t meet the town’s definition of a “family” (the girlfriend has three children), they can’t move into the home they purchased.
A man, his girlfriend and her three children recently bought a house in Black Jack in north St. Louis County. But because Toi Pruitt and Joe Pulliam and the children don’t meet the town’s definition of a family, they couldn’t get an occupancy permit.
In 2006, Black Jack revised its definition of a family after initially refusing a permit for Fondray Loving, Olivia Shelltrack and their children. That family had filed a federal lawsuit.
The new ordinance allows unmarried couples as long as the children are related to both. None of the children are related to Pulliam.
The city attorney says he’s willing to fight for the ordinance in court.
(Read more about the Loving/Shelltrack lawsuit here.)
According to the city’s website, the occupancy permit exists to “enforces the city’s property maintenance code standards by requiring that an inspection be done to ensure that the house or apartment is safe for occupancy.”
The real irony? If the girlfriend had only one child they’d qualify under the city ordinance (Article V, Sec. 6-76(a))
Family…(3) A group of not more than three (3) persons who need not be related by blood, marriage, adoption or foster care relationship, living together as a single nonprofit housekeeping unit in a dwelling unit…
Can you say “arbitrary and capricious”?
I knew you could.