Igliozzi comments on proposed college housing limit changes in Providence

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) — A potential change in zoning laws for college students in Providence has raised concerns about the economic impact this could have on students and renters across the city.

Wednesday, a public hearing was held in Providence City Council chambers and heard testimony from committee members and members of the public on a proposed ordinance brought forth by Ward 2 Councilwoman Helen Anthony that would limit college student housing off campus to three students per household.

The matter was continued on to a later date, to allow time for councilors and the committee to do further research on the potential economic impacts this ordinance could have.

While speaking to ABC 6 News Thursday, Council President John Igliozzi stressed there needs to be more discussion on the matter, which would potentially affect thousands of housing units in the city.

He added that at this point in time, he would not vote in favor of the ordinance.

“You need to have more conversation, more understanding,” Igliozzi said. “[And have] more investigation into what is really the problem and what are you trying to solve and how is this going to go.”

The problem? Igliozzi thinks an understaffed police department, saying the city already has laws in place to enforce noise and housing complaints.

“We should probably start looking into hiring more police, and inspectors, and enforcing the existing laws first. Then, after you do that, then see if there’s still a need for any amendments or changes to existing laws,” said the council president.

The current zoning ordinance in Providence was approved in 2014 and allows three students per family unit of a home. Under this new proposed law, all student housing would allow just three students, a move Igliozzi said would put an economic stranglehold on students and residents who struggle with paying for housing.

A similar rule was implemented last year in Narragansett, limiting University of Rhode Island students living off-campus to three students per household.

However, this ordinance in Providence goes too far, as the size of the capital city is more than four times the size of Narragansett, and would have a larger impact on residents of the city who are looking for their own housing as well.

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