Students should support proposed housing changes

Letter to Editor by Mark Barker

Students deserve high quality, well maintained, safe housing just like anyone else, and city officials and neighbors who often have lived in these neighborhoods for decades shouldn’t be vilified as hateful just because they don’t want a house next to them converted to a rooming house.There’s a difference between four or five people living together in a house and a house double or tripled in size and 10 or more people living in a house.  Students should support reasonable attempts to limit excessive densities in established neighborhoods.

These attempts, along with other measures,  will ensure that the density level in established neighborhoods are sustainable and we don’t have more North Elizabeth streets, where there’s no street parking, sewers routinely overflow, and home invasions occur regularly.

Is this really quality housing (student or otherwise), and does this really serve the students’ interest (but gosh, the landlords sure have done well there, haven’t they)?

The houses are going to rent for the same amount per bedroom because they have to compete with the nearby apartment buildings (do your own rental survey if you don’t believe me).

So demanding quality housing is not incompatible with affordable housing nor does it mean students won’t be within walking distance.

The Kernel ran an article showing that apartments for 5,000 students have been built in the last several years within walking distance of UK and more planned.

The question and only question before us then is will established neighborhoods become slum housing complexes with inadequate parking, storm and sanitary sewers, and badly out of compliance with basic safety codes as documented by the Student Housing Task Force Report, or will they be in well-maintained properties with adequate infrastructure to support them.

Not only should students support reasonable limits on density in established neighborhoods they should demand that housing in the area around campus be regularly inspected and brought up to code so students aren’t subjected to living in fire traps. Demand action before someone dies.

Mark Barker

UK information technology manager