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Thread: Off-campus student housing?

  1. #1
    Cyburbian Plus dandy_warhol's avatar
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    Off-campus student housing?

    If your community has a college or university, how do you regulate off-campus student housing?

    We've been working on a 3 pronged approach involving rental registration, an overlay district, and the creation of a new use in order to alleviate some of the tensions that occur between single-family residences and student housing.

    We also realize that this is not just a zoning/land use issue and are working with the neighborhood associations and universities to work on the social aspects of this tension.

  2. #2
    Cyburbian Raf's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by dandy_warhol View post
    If your community has a college or university, how do you regulate off-campus student housing?

    We've been working on a 3 pronged approach involving rental registration, an overlay district, and the creation of a new use in order to alleviate some of the tensions that occur between single-family residences and student housing.

    We also realize that this is not just a zoning/land use issue and are working with the neighborhood associations and universities to work on the social aspects of this tension.
    Aww.. the students... I was once a trouble maker... now i am a get off my lawn type .

    How SLO Does it

    The City uses this program coupled with a High Occupancy ordinance, Code Enforcement, Noise Ordinance (or the party ordinance) and Special Police Units Known as SNAP Officers.

    In addition, the City recently beefed up its noise ordinance, as well as the creation of the "unruly gathering" which was created to combat such lovely holidays as St. Patty's Day/Halloween/Mardi Gras

    This has been on-going since the Poly Royale Riots of the early 90's. If you need more info PM me.
    Last edited by Raf; 28 Sep 2011 at 12:37 PM.
    Men do dumb $hit... it is what they do to correct the problem that counts.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian
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    The college towns that I am familiar with have a love-hate relationship with their student body. They love that they spend money and support local businesses but hate that they live in the community. Many colleges have been around for 50 to 100 years plus and are located in the center of older, established that are often upscale neighborhoods. The fact that the college is there and has many tenured, white collar employees that make large salaries contributes to the value of a neighborhood.

    To date I haven't seen a good solution to this problem. The two major universities in Utah, the University of Utah and Brigham Young University, both have had this problem. It is much more acute in Provo, Utah because BYU is a residence school -- most of the students go there to live during the school term --, versus the UofU which is a commuter school and Provo is much smaller than Salt Lake City. Provo City has done a lot of the things that you mention in your post, but I don't believe that it has been that successful. You may want to contact Provo City Planning and see what they have done and how successful they believe it has been.

  4. #4
    Cyburbian Plus dandy_warhol's avatar
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    Thanks for the information!

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    Cyburbian
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    I think rental licensing is fairly common (Boulder, CO), as is the 3-unrelated rule (which never made a lot of sense to me if it is a 4 BR house ...).

    However, bigger picture I wonder if communities should seriously consider moving beyond the "students in single family homes" model. I know, I know, our ideology has enforced the single-family home so strongly that even 18-year olds with little income or experience in property upkeep are expected to live in one ... but I think we see a lot of communities upzoning around universities, engaging the university in area planning and even in financing partnerships.

    Boulder, CO has taken the route of upzoning (along with design guidelines) to alleviate the pressure of so many students on the housing stock and existing single-family neighborhoods (with new housing appealing to the wealthier students, in keeping with Boulder's model of development, of course). Fort Collins did this as well, more as part of a new model for sustainability than from housing shortages - with more apartments along the West Elizabeth corridor, and with the new Oval project being a good example of urban infill, guided in part by the UniverCity connections planning.

    The most ambitious project I know of in this vein is around Simon Fraser university in BC, which I believe controls the land, but I also saw a model of creating a new University District adjacent to one of the schools in Virginia or North Carolina?

    After all, who better to live in a mixed-use apartment over a bar, than college students?

  6. #6
    Cyburbian UrbaneSprawler's avatar
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    Along similar lines to this discussion, I suspect those interested in this thread are likely finding student housing developers are the trend for undeveloped/redevelopable parcels of land near their university. I've been actively working with two national student housing developers on their entitlement for over a year now.

    It's been an interesting situation of integrating these apartment type complexes into the urban fabric of surrounding lower density residential development. We have a code that preaches connectivity to neighborhoods and stubbed out streets along with perpetuation of a block pattern, which in many ways is contrary to the campus style (often gated-entry) design that the student housing projects are typically known for.

    Of course go figure, a student housing project here built decades ago prior to implementation of our more integrated, block pattern, new urbanism type code had a major party of several thousand people that was out of control and required police involvement. This party was out of control, but at least it was generally contained in the campus style setting within the confines of the site, not spilling out into the neighborhoods because of lack of connectivity to the surrounding neighborhoods. This riot however was literally days after a controversial student housing project was approved at council that provides the integrated block pattern and connectivity to existing neighborhoods that this older student housing complex lacks.

    All that said it would be interesting from my perspective to hear from you folks with student housing projects being developed on how you may (or may not) require connectivity to surrounding neighborhoods.

    Quote Originally posted by docwatson View post
    After all, who better to live in a mixed-use apartment over a bar, than college students?
    Don't forget the medical marijuana dispensary next to the bar.

  7. #7
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    The best project I did in this area was one in which we recruited developers to add a couple hundred new apartments in the market. Given the choice between a run-down old house with all of its problems - maintenance, parking, mowing/shoveling, etc. - or a new apartment in a decent complex with a two-car garage, pool, etc., many students chose the apartment. As we expected, many of the old houses went unrented. Owners, many absentee landlords, put many on the market. We then encouraged owner-occupants to buy and rehab them using some of our housing programs.
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