Students are Personas Non Gratas in Boston

Boston’s Roommate Ordinance

Last month we reported on a story regarding issues with off-campus apartments in Boston. A Boston College undergrad was listed as a one of the plaintiffs in a suit filed against the city over a new ordinance that would restrict the number of students per rental property at 4.

The new law was passed rather hastily after the long-strained relationship between college students living in off-campus apartments and residents had united neighborhood groups and community leaders to take action against the alleged disorderly state of their neighborhoods at night.

The new law has recently attracted opposition from both students, who feel they are being victimized, and local landlords, who provide affordable houses for rent in Boston to students. The new roommate limit would price students out of the market and increase vacancies for landlords.

Boston College’s Plan for Housing Students Raises Ire

In response, Boston College has announced its own plan to alleviate tensions between Bostonians and its students; it will guarantee housing for all of its students for all four years by constructing dormitories to bring more students from the surrounding community to on campus housing.

However, the plan to have 100% of its student population on campus involves BC purchasing land for student apartments in Brighton, which, for residents, is not exactly what they had in mind.

Residents in surrounding neighborhoods had called for the college to house 100% of its students for many years, but had envisioned new dorms to be constructed on BC’s main campus. The college would rather house students at the newly purchased land at 2000 Commonwealth Avenue, which is located on the Brighton side of Commonwealth Ave.

062408 1951 studentsare1 Students are Personas Non Gratas in Boston

Apparently, the Boston Redevelopment Authority, (BRA) had required the university to explore the possibility of increasing student living quarters on its main campus, something which the university was reluctant to consider. Boston College spokespeople at a recent neighborhood meeting repeatedly insisted on having no more than 4700 students on the 40 acre main campus.

The question to be answered is whether the city, its residents and the college can agree on what to do with Boston’s high student population. Indeed, college students are temporary residents that are prone to late night revelry, but they also provide a boon to the local rental market and neighborhood restaurants, bars and stores. The increase in the student population has also been noted to have displaced the rates of violent crime.

Are students good or bad for urban areas? Do students depreciate the real estate of certain neighborhoods, and if so, what is the best way to remedy this?

It is good to see that at least both the city and the universities in Boston are all working together to address the question of how to provide apartments for rent and housing for students.

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