Residents in ECU community sue City of Greenville - WSLS 10 NBC in Roanoke/Lynchburg Va

Residents in ECU community sue City of Greenville

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GREENVILLE, N.C. -

A Greenville neighborhood files a lawsuit against the city. The people who live there are fighting an ordinance they say discriminates against them.

John M. Martin of Ward and Smith is representing the plaintiffs. "The two ordinances that we are challenging are arbitrary and capricious in their nature."

The ordinances, number 45 and 46; combined, they allow for 4 unrelated people to live under one roof. The previous law that was around since the early 80's, only allowed 3.

Martin says a major reason for their suit is that the ordinance is discriminatory.

"If my neighbor can have 4 unrelated, why shouldn't I be allowed to have 4 unrelated occupants?" Martin posed as a question.

9 On Your Side reached out to the city attorney for comment and did not return our calls. We did speak to council members and they had plenty to say.

"It's all a part of the process. I mean citizens have a right to do that. I certainly encourage them if they feel that's the route to go." Councilman Dennis Mitchell said.

"I am absolutely in support, of the people of my district who have opposed this policy from the start." Council woman Marion Blackburn said.

In 2012, this issue was heavily debated by the city council and many voiced their concerns. Some members said it would lower crime and improve the community's appearance and raise property values. But looking back, the citizens say none of those claims were substantiated to their satisfaction.

"Our clients feel like this was more like special interest." Martin said.

The city has less than 60 days to respond to the suit. At this time, no one knows for sure if or when this case will make it to the courtroom---especially with a looming election.

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