Ozzie and Harriet Don't Live Here Anymore

Zoning Practice — February 2007

By Dwight Merriam, FAICP


ZP subscriber
List Price
Sign In & Download

Not a member but want to buy a copy? You'll need to create a free My APA account to purchase. Create account

The composition of American households has changed dramatically in the last several decades, but plans and regulations have not. What may have worked 50, or even 20, years ago in regulating single-family uses is very different from what works now. The timeless challenge remains: accommodating modern needs without destroying the character of single-family neighborhoods.

Definitional and procedural tools can protect the character of single-family residential districts and yet still allow greater numbers of unrelated people who share common bonds (i.e., a "functional family") to live there.

This issue of Zoning Practice explores how American households have changed in the last several decades and offers suggestions for planners looking to bring definitions of "family" and standards for single-family dwellings into alignment with contemporary practice and federal fair housing laws.


Page Count
Date Published
Feb. 1, 2007
Adobe PDF
American Planning Association

About the Author

Dwight Merriam, FAICP
Dwight Merriam, FAICP, a lawyer and land use planner, is a Fellow in the American College of Real Estate Lawyers, a Fellow and Past President and of the American Institute of Certified Planners, Past Chair of the ABA Section of State and Local Government Law, a Counselor of Real Estate, and the Connecticut member of Owners’ Counsel of America. Dwight taught for 40 years as an adjunct professor in several law schools. He has published over 200 articles and 13 books, including co- authoring the casebook, PLANNING AND CONTROL OF LAND DEVELOPMENT, and co-authoring the treatise RATHKOPF’S THE LAW OF ZONING AND PLANNING with Prof. Sara Bronin. He is the author of CONNECTICUT LAND USE LAW and Practice 4th. Dwight served as an active duty and reserve Surface Warfare Officer in the U.S. Navy, including three Vietnam deployments, retiring after 31 years as a Captain. UMass BA (cum laude), UNC MRP, and Yale JD. www.dwightmerriam.com