There’s an interesting hearing at 9 AM in Harrisburg today before the Senate Urban Affairs and Housing Committee.
The committee will discuss local ordinances related to student housing in university towns, such as Indiana. Chairman Gene Yaw, whose 23rd District includes Bucknell University, says the state’s colleges and universities “present a unique set of planning and community development challenges” and ordinances limiting student housing are becoming more and more common.
Among those speaking at the hearing today will be representatives of several residential housing associations, the Pennsylvania State Association of Boroughs, the Pennsylvania Municipal League, and the city of Reading.
Indiana Borough’s 2007 Residential Preservation Ordinance is aimed at converting homes that traditionally were rented to students to single family dwellings. It states that homes in the R1 and R2 zones cannot be converted to student rental units, and student rentals that remain unoccupied for nine months will be rezoned residential. The ordinance also lowers the maximum occupancy for units that don’t meet their current maximum occupancy for nine months. The offshoot of the rules regulating houses rented to students has been a boom in apartment units built specifically for student housing.