Students, residents take the stand against proposed off-campus housing changes

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) — The Providence Ordinance committee held a meeting on Wednesday to review changes to an ordinance that would limit off-campus housing for college students to just three people per dwelling.

The proposal was first introduced last year, but has since been amended so that it would affect less students.

The amended ordinance proposed by Councilwoman Helen Anthony, would now affect around 2,000 homes or less. It would also only affect undergraduates. The ordinance focuses on homes in zones R-1A AND R1.

“The zones are primarily around the colleges and universities, and that’s where the problem is, the undergraduate students because they aren’t being housed on campus, they’re coming into the neighborhoods,” explained Anthony.

The ordinance would limit three students per dwelling, and strives to eliminate dorm-like housing off campus.

“What it will do is certainly give us the tools to prevent these developers from purchasing homes and converting them into dorms,” said Anthony.

Many long-time resident of the zones affected are in favor, saying under-age students have cause a raucous in their neighborhoods.

“These backyards provide an ideal place for them to congregate and drink,” a Providence resident said.

“This is just from my house, I reported 11 incidents, I was awoken from my sleep three nights in a row,” the resident continued.

He further stated, in the last year, 26 incidents have been reported to Brown involving noise and partying off campus.

Students also took to the stand during the hearing, defending their living arrangements and arguing the universities are to blame.

“I can say with near certainty, that the desire to go off campus is not going anywhere, my university simply doesn’t have the current infrastructure to house all of its students on campus,” said one Brown University student.

That student went out to explain that limiting three undergrads to a dwelling won’t solve the party issue or the noise, but may spread it further throughout the city.

Anthony notes the necessity of more housing in the city, but when asked what the options would be for students who may lose housing, she said, “Their options are going to be looking elsewhere, that’s all I can say.”

Categories: News, Providence, Rhode Island