Concerns grow over Narragansett Town Council’s new ordinance limiting college students living in rentals

NARRAGANSETT, RI (WLNE) – The Narragansett town Council approved an ordinance Wednesday night limiting the number of college students in a rental home.
The vote came after over five hours of heated testimony from residents, students, and renters.
Now, some are concerned how this could impact the town and that if will leave hundreds of students without a place to live come the start of school.

“I don’t agree that what they did last night is going to solve anything,” James Durkin said. “I think they went to an extreme measure that will be dealt with in the courts.”

James Durkin and his wife Becky own Durkin cottage Realty. They say the problem all stems from the issue of affordable housing.

The my day the problem has been going on for many years, but with Covid, the University limited the number of students who could live on campus. Off-campus, housing got expensive and crowded and rentals began stretching into neighborhoods where families lived.

“The problem isn’t the 4 bedrooms, it’s 5, 6, 7, 8 bedroom houses all lined up in a row and its more of a college campus than a neighborhood.,” Durkin said.

Now with the possibility of limits on the number of people per house, they say the issue will only get worse.

“The affordable housing issue will be a further problem because now people are just going to flock to all the 3 bedrooms and prices will come up on already high 3 priced bedrooms.”

“I personally know of at least 50 who do not have a place to stay come September 6th,” Joe Lembo said.

Joe Lembo is the director of communications for Narragansett 2100. He’s representing the students at URI against the three person limit.

He says they’ll take this to the courts once again if that’s what it comes to.

“Students we spoke to, they’re very disappointed to hear that so many are going to have a challenge, not only this year, but there are still probably hundreds looking for housing this year. Next year, it’ll be thousands.”

Wednesday night’s vote was the first hearing. There will be a second public hearing and vote before it’s official.

Categories: News, Rhode Island