On Thursday I introduced a proposed ordinance that would amend the City’s code of ordinances to limit occupancy of housing units to not more than four undergraduate students. This proposal’s intent was to address the serious upward pressure on housing costs resulting from certain housing units being effectively converted into dormitories or rooming house in our neighborhoods.
The four-undergraduate proposal was also designed to loosen existing city laws currently in effect prohibiting three students from occupying certain units, and to remove graduate students from the current prohibition. I opposed the ‘three-student’ rule when it passed before the council, stating it was improper to discriminate against those choosing to seek an education. My opposition to the three-person rule applies here to the four-person undergraduate proposal as well. In short, my introduction of the four-undergraduate student proposal was a mistake. A law that reduces the scope of discrimination, but still allows it to apply to others is not acceptable.
Today I submitted direction to the City Clerk to withdraw my name as sponsor of the four-undergraduate student proposal and requesting that it be withdraw from city council’s docket. I will not support it should it move forward. And I support the repeal of the current three-student rule as well. I remain very concerned about recent developments in our neighborhoods that continue to drive up housing costs for city residents – including new student rental models and the increase of room-sharing services such as Airbnb. I will continue to work the Council and the City’s Commission on Affordable Housing to address these challenges. However, any solution cannot be routed in discrimination based upon the identity or status of our renters.
–Seth Yurdin, Councilman Ward One