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Thread: Student-oriented apartments

  1. #1
         
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    Student-oriented apartments

    Neighborhoods near our enormous university campus (now the 3rd largest university in the nation) are increasingly seeing apartment buildings that are evading density limits and our transportation mitigation requirements. For example, a single apartment unit with, say, a single kitchen and 4 BRs is often accommodating 8 adults (and, usually, 8 cars). Because we count an apartment w/ 4 BRs & a single kitchen as one dwelling unit, we don't require much w/ regard to mitigation (relatively few car trips are ordinarily generated by one unit). Our planning manager is thinking we should find a way to count such a 4-BR student apartment as TWO units so that we can require more mitigation. Does anyone know of a university-oriented community that has such a problem and is effectively dealing w/ it via zoning regs?

  2. #2
    Cyburbian Random Traffic Guy's avatar
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    Dunno about the zoning regs, but ITE has trip generation info for apartments by number of residents. I just used it for a development in a college townwhere it was acknowledged that each "unit" would have average 3 people.


    Quote Originally posted by OT
    Pretty cool development actually, each units is actually a condo. Aimed at parents of students. Buy a unit, family member stays there, and rent out 2-3 other bedrooms to other students to help pay the mortgage. When graduated, sell unit or keep for rental income. Apparently the developer/management provides roomate-finder, management, maint, etc, so from a tenant perspective it is little different than a standard apt complex.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian H's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by domz
    a single apartment unit with, say, a single kitchen and 4 BRs is often accommodating 8 adults (and, usually, 8 cars). Because we count an apartment w/ 4 BRs & a single kitchen as one dwelling unit, we don't require much w/ regard to mitigation (relatively few car trips are ordinarily generated by one unit). Our planning manager is thinking we should find a way to count such a 4-BR student apartment as TWO units so that we can require more mitigation.
    I am confused as why a 4 bedroom accomodates 8 adults? Most college kids I know don't share a room outside of a dorm situation. Are you counting the "significant others" that spend the night? Becuase if so, is that not a zero sum game from the vacant rooms their daddy's think they are sleeping in accross campus?

    Eitherway, why count it as two? That does not seem 'correct'. Why not instead just call it what it is ("student housing") and say the trip generation rate and mitgation regs for that dwelling unit type is based on 1 car per bed (or whatever). It has a different 'use' than a standard apt. and therefore requires different mitgation, right? But it is still just one unit IMHO.
    Last edited by H; 08 Jul 2006 at 12:36 PM.
    "Those who plan do better than those who do not plan, even though they rarely stick to their plan." - Winston Churchill

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    Cyburbian abrowne's avatar
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    What kind of students can afford cars? These are strange students.

    You have to be really careful about statements like 1 car per bed. In adding such a requirement you will likely raise the cost of housing by 1/4 or more. Be conscious of how regulation can impact real lives.

  5. #5
    Cyburbian H's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by abrowne
    What kind of students can afford cars? These are strange students.

    You have to be really careful about statements like 1 car per bed. In adding such a requirement you will likely raise the cost of housing by 1/4 or more. Be conscious of how regulation can impact real lives.
    Fully aware of how regs can impact real lives, you might want to re-check the reality of Florida college student life, I am familiar with UF (the refferenced campus) and today's students there have cars; and I believe 1 car per bed is a fair estimate for UF (and other similar schools in the region) off campus living in new student apts.
    Last edited by H; 08 Jul 2006 at 5:43 PM.
    "Those who plan do better than those who do not plan, even though they rarely stick to their plan." - Winston Churchill

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    Cyburbian DetroitPlanner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by abrowne
    What kind of students can afford cars? These are strange students.
    Where I grew up, you needed a car to attend college. No car? No College. Transit options were few, but commuting colleges were many.
    We hope for better things; it will arise from the ashes - Fr Gabriel Richard 1805

  7. #7
         
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    Off-Campus Apartments as Dorms

    [QUOTE=H]I am confused as why a 4 bedroom accomodates 8 adults? Most college kids I know don't share a room outside of a dorm situation.

    H,
    Thanks for your thoughts. As I understand it, these off-campus student-oriented apartments are, indeed, functioning as if they were dorms. Apparently, students are doubling up in a BR in the same way they would in a dorm. I guess it is an indication of how strong the market is for student housing near campus that is relatively affordable (yet better than on-campus dorms).

  8. #8
    Cyburbian H's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by domz
    As I understand it, these off-campus student-oriented apartments are, indeed, functioning as if they were dorms. Apparently, students are doubling up in a BR in the same way they would in a dorm. I guess it is an indication of how strong the market is for student housing near campus that is relatively affordable (yet better than on-campus dorms).
    Interesting. Are they regulated at all by UF or are they completely private?
    "Those who plan do better than those who do not plan, even though they rarely stick to their plan." - Winston Churchill

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    Cyburbian Jeff's avatar
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    Dont you have any of those "X amount" of unrelated peeps can live in a house ordinances. Had that at my school.

    Cars were controlled through permitted on-street parking. You only got 1 parking pass (and 1 visitor pass) per vehicle which was registered and insured at the address. The cars are more often than not registered to a different addy, thus the neighborhoods werent clutteres with 8 cars per house.

  10. #10
         
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    Student-oriented apartments

    Quote Originally posted by Jeff
    Dont you have any of those "X amount" of unrelated peeps can live in a house ordinances. Had that at my school.

    Cars were controlled through permitted on-street parking. You only got 1 parking pass (and 1 visitor pass) per vehicle which was registered and insured at the address. The cars are more often than not registered to a different addy, thus the neighborhoods werent clutteres with 8 cars per house.
    We do have such a limit on unrelated people by defining what a "family" consists of. But we are talking about a MULTI-FAMILY district here, so the relevant question is how we limit a UNIT. We limit this based on no. of kitchens. Mostly, the limit affects single-family districts. In our hypothetical student apartment scenario, we might have 4 BRs (and up to 8 students) sharing one kitchen. We would consider that to be one dwelling unit.

    Are there alternative ways to define/limit the no. of dwelling units besides no. of kitchens?

    I'm quite aware of proper parking management through what I have read from Don Shoup (his "High Cost of Free Parking" is a must-read book). But I don't believe this community is ready to manage traffic impacts by properly and equitably managing parking. The more politically viable route is to indirectly control traffic by capping the number of residential units. And by obligating the development to mitigate traffic impacts via number of trips generated (which is based on the no. of units). In other words, the more units we are able to count, the more mitigation we get.

    As an aside, Shoup makes the crucial point that the price of parking must be UNBUNDLED from the price of the housing unit. That is, a person should not be forced to have to pay for their parking when they buy or rent a place (a common and usually hidden charge.) When the price of parking is included in the price of the housing, there is a powerful incentive to use that space by having a car to fill it. Particularly for students living near a campus, who often don't need as many cars, per capita, as is normal, a choice should be provided about whether the price of the housing does or does not include the price of the parking. For those who decide they don't need the parking, unbundled parking allows them to find more affordable housing.

    As for the question from "H" about whether UF regulates off-campus housing, they do not.

  11. #11
    Cyburbian abrowne's avatar
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    1 car per bed still seems overly onerous and will only increase the cost of housing. Period. This might be fine for wealthy students but for the less well off it makes a difficult situation that much more difficult to juggle.

    Quote Originally posted by DetroitPlanner
    Where I grew up, you needed a car to attend college. No car? No College. Transit options were few, but commuting colleges were many.
    OK, but that would apparently not be an issue here, because why else would there be density hiccups if the housing was not near campus? Clearly location is an advantage and in this instance many students are trying to locate near the university, further reducing the need for cars, one would expect (why else would one double up in a room other than to be closer to campus?).

  12. #12
    Cyburbian H's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by abrowne
    1 car per bed still seems overly onerous and will only increase the cost of housing. Period.
    As does any regualtion. Period.

    But, most regulations are there for good reason and when the average students at a U have cars this fact can not be overlooked when planning for their comprehensive residential needs.

    Quote Originally posted by abrowne
    This might be fine for wealthy students but for the less well off it makes a difficult situation that much more difficult to juggle.
    Agreed. This is why I personally promote university provided "affordable" on campus dormroom housing with cars only allowed at auxiliary lots with shuttle service back and forth to campus. Thus, students could all walk to class from the dorm and the main campus would be car-free. The service could be an optional fee for the auxillary parking privilege. Thus, making the juggling act a little easier for those with finacial contraints. However, this idea is not a popular one amongst students I have conversed with, as most expect to live off campus, drive and park close to their classes. And, if that is what the market is calling for and providing, then it needs to be planned accordingly. IMHO.
    Last edited by H; 11 Jul 2006 at 2:04 PM.
    "Those who plan do better than those who do not plan, even though they rarely stick to their plan." - Winston Churchill

  13. #13
    Cyburbian abrowne's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by H
    As does any regualtion. Period.

    But, most regulations are there for good reason and when the average students at a U have cars this fact can not be overlooked when planning for their comprehensive residential needs.
    Regulation need not be over zealous and it need not always harm housing affordability. Reasonable regulation is typically just that - reasonable. Ensuring adequate window dimensions and window well dimensions for student basement suites... marginal cost, large importance for life safety. Solid blocking between studs at front door... less than $5 of material but could stave off a forced break in. Etc.

    It would seem that the city simply needs to enforce existing bylaws. If the district is located near a university, why require parking for 1 car per bed? Why not just crack down on illegal parkers and issue infraction notices to property owners? The City is here saying that they can have both - proximity and a vehicle - and perhaps this is not an appropriate policy for an existing district of, apparently, contrary character. Those with vehicles have an entire city's worth of housing to choose from. Insisting on 1 parking space per bed for this area seems, to me, disastrous.

    A more reasonable approach, I would think, is to leave this to landlords and tenants. Those tenants seeking additional parking will, if it is truly important, flock to those units with extra parking provided. Landlords will see this and realize a rent premium can be found. No need to blanket regulate.

    Quote Originally posted by abrowne
    OK, but that would apparently not be an issue here, because why else would there be density hiccups if the housing was not near campus? Clearly location is an advantage and in this instance many students are trying to locate near the university, further reducing the need for cars, one would expect (why else would one double up in a room other than to be closer to campus?).
    This statement still stands.

  14. #14
    Cyburbian H's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by abrowne
    Insisting on 1 parking space per bed for this area seems, to me, disastrous.
    Having apts. with lack of adequate parking provided seems disastrous. Where will all the cars park, if it is not provided by the residence? Should they permanently flood the street so there is no room for visitor parking? The key thing here is the school is in Gainesville, Florida. These students have cars. How do you think they got to the town? They did not walk there from Tampa, etc. They may walk to class, but they still have a car sitting by there residence that they run around in later in the day to go to the store or what not...
    Last edited by H; 12 Jul 2006 at 12:35 AM.
    "Those who plan do better than those who do not plan, even though they rarely stick to their plan." - Winston Churchill

  15. #15
    Cyburbian iamme's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by H
    Having apts. with lack of adequate parking provided seems disastrous. Where will all the cars park, if it is not provided by the residence? Should they permanently flood the street so there is no room for visitor parking? The key thing here is the school is in Gainesville, Florida. These students have cars. How do you think they got to the town? They did not walk there from Tampa, etc. They may walk to class, but they still have a car sitting by there residence that they run around in later in the day to go to the store or what not...
    Are you saying that there are no stores nearby, within reach of public transit, or they couldn't share trips to the store? If you make it cheap (cost rolled into rent) and easy (mandate high amount of parking) for people to use cars, they will. If you make anything cheap enough, people will use it.

    Is there another agenda at work here? Are these parking requirements being used to hinder new development oriented towards students?

  16. #16
    Cyburbian H's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by iamme
    Are you saying that there are no stores nearby, within reach of public transit, or they couldn't share trips to the store? If you make it cheap (cost rolled into rent) and easy (mandate high amount of parking) for people to use cars, they will. If you make anything cheap enough, people will use it.

    Is there another agenda at work here? Are these parking requirements being used to hinder new development oriented towards students?
    Sure, there are some stores near by and reachable by bus... but Gainesville is very spread out. There is a mall on the north, the U on the SW, cool places downtown, a nature preserve and rec area to the south, a cool pizza rest. on the eastside, etc... Not to mention students and their friends are very spread out. This small town, low dense, spread out development makes the use of public transit very inefficient.

    However, I do agree with you on the cost = use thing… but regardless of how students run their errands or get to class, this does not change the fact that when they arrive to G’ville from wherever they are from, they most likely arrive in a car and need a place to park it when while they are there.

    People here (in the threads) think 1 to 1 is low, but I have been to many complexes in G’ville with 1 to 1 and guess what… there is a shortage of parking. I visit a good friend there on a regular basis; he has a two-bedroom townhouse, with two spaces. He also has two cars (from there being two people living there) and when I arrive the visitor parking is always full. Oh, and he lives in a 'mostly' student (be it older student) complex, on a bus line right by campus…

    These issues are the same up here in Tally by FSU; as they were in Knoxville by UT. There I actually walked to class everyday and rarely used a car except to go to the grocery store (which was ona bus line, but a lot quicker and easier by car). But even when not is use, it was always there, taking up space in the parking area behind the complex.

    I fully understand what the car has done to the character of the American city, but in the end, people like cars and are going to use them, thus when the are not in use they need a place to put them. I surely don’t wish to give mine up (and now this could be whole other thread topic now…).
    Last edited by H; 12 Jul 2006 at 1:03 PM.
    "Those who plan do better than those who do not plan, even though they rarely stick to their plan." - Winston Churchill

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