Friday, September 18, 2015

Are These College Students Causing A Negative Externality?

See City of Colleges Takes Heat for Proposed Student Housing Ban by Amy Anthony of the Associated Press. Excerpts:
"Each fall, thousands of students flock to the city's many colleges, filling its large old homes and, sometimes, holding loud parties. Now a proposal to keep too many of those students from living together has drawn the ire of civil liberties advocates.

Providence [Rhode Island] officials are considering a zoning law that would limit the expansion of student housing in the city, the state's capital, including in neighborhoods near Providence College, a private Roman Catholic university, and Rhode Island College, a public institution. Specifically, the proposed law would prohibit more than three college students from living in a single-family home.

Democratic Councilwoman Jo-Ann Ryan, who represents and lives in the Elmhurst neighborhood near Providence College, said she introduced the legislation at the request of neighbors "completely and totally frustrated with the partying."

A wild party Sept. 5, part of an annual tradition at Providence College in which students celebrate the new academic year, resulted in dozens of arrests. The celebration has grown over the years to include students from the city's other schools, which include the Ivy League's Brown University and the prestigious Rhode Island School of Design."

"Besides the partying, Ryan said, residents worry landlords are buying all the single-family homes in her area to rent them to students.

"Those houses are getting snatched up, and they're creating mini-dormitories," she said.

But landlords say they've improved the neighborhood by remodeling once-vacant homes, leading to increased property values.

"Investors who have put over $2 million in rehab in that neighborhood have now been vilified and targeted, along with the students," said attorney Robert D'Amico, who owns several rental properties in Elmhurst.

D'Amico, who primarily rents to students, said the ordinance doesn't make sense.

"There is no direct correlation between the students living in single-family homes and the number of students roaming around the area and having red-cup parties," he said."

"Existing ordinances in Providence and Narragansett, home to a campus of the University of Rhode Island, allow police to put orange stickers on party houses, alerting landlords and tenants they'll be fined if police return because of disturbances."

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