Mythbuster: Boone’s brothel law no longer in existence

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The Appalachian Online

Clare McPherson

A common misconception on Appalachian State University’s campus is that more than four women may not live in a house or an apartment because Boone law considers this to be a brothel.

This supposed brothel law has often been used to explain why sororities live in the Appalachian Panhellenic Hall rather than sorority houses, but the law is only a myth.

“I heard that it’s something like we can’t have more that three or so unrelated women living in the same house because it’s considered a brothel,” said Diane Scardino, freshman international business major and sister of Phi Mu. “That’s why we can’t have sorority houses.”

Other Appalachian students shared similar views on the brothel law, including junior social work major Megan Lord, who said she thought it was just another “crazy Boone thing” that she never questioned it.

However, this myth does have some small truth in it. According to the Town of Boone website, “no more than two unrelated persons may live in a dwelling unit in a single family neighborhood.” These areas are labeled R1 and R1A on the Boone zoning map.

In zones MH, R3, B3 and M1, up to four unrelated people may live in a home or an apartment. These zones cover most student off-campus housing.

There is one zoning area in Boone that allows an unlimited number of occupants –  U-1, the university. This allows for the large number of unrelated people who live in the residence halls, including the APH.

According to Boone’s Unified Development Ordinance, the town’s objective with these restrictions is to maintain a peaceful environment for families to live in.

Section 159 of the ordinance states, “In order to preserve the family values, peace and quality of life in single family areas, the Town has adopted controls on the number of unrelated people that may live in residential units.”

Some students said they feel these laws are unfair and do not take into account Appalachian students, who make up approximately 35 percent of Boone’s population.

“I think it sounds like a law that would have been acceptable in past times, but in today’s modern society I think it’s an outdated expected standard of living,” said Emma Dahlsten, junior English major. “Situations that arise that are pertinent to college life won’t always fit those laws.”

Story: Clare McPherson, Intern News Reporter