Housing Over-Filled…Or Is It?

As UVa has grown, and the student body has sprawled across the city, housing has become an increasingly crowded affair. Rambling old houses have been set up to serve as home to a half dozen different students, and that’s putting stress on some of those once-quiet neighborhoods. Charlottesville’s new zoning ordinance aims to change that — it will put a cap of three on the number of unrelated adults that can live in one house in neighborhoods around UVa. So what makes three the magic number? Lisa Provence has an extensive story in this week’s Hook.

41 thoughts on “Housing Over-Filled…Or Is It?”

  1. The students who complain about this need to realize that they really should not have much say about the issue. They are not residents and will be gone in a few years. They are the problem, and their peronsal desires have little to do with the long term health of a community.

    This is along the vein of the water crisis last year. The posters all over the city asked "What will you do when it is gone." Well, I suspect they would go home, but only after being a huge consumer.

  2. Certainly, individual students won’t be here in the long-run. However, the student body certainly will be — most likely they’ll have a longer presence here than almost any private advocate (read: denizen) and possibly longer than most families.

    Further, to suggest that only those interested in the long-term effects should have a say discounts the elderly and the sickly and almost laughingly invites us to replace them with those considering a move here.

    To follow your logic, a student advocacy group, ostensibly concerned with the living conditions of students generally, would rightly have a say in this matter. In fact, they should have a relatively potent say. That, to me, seems like a sensible result.

  3. How much of the Cville community is related to UVA? Have parents, spouses or children who are or were students here? Are professors at UVA? How many UVA students will stay in Cville long after they graduate (or drop out)?

    What about the large population of students for whom Charlottesville is home? Not just townies like myself, but how long do you have to live here before you have a say? 4 years? 10 years? 20 years? Do you have to have a multi-generational Cville family? Sure, many of these students could move back with their parents, but so could you, if your parents are still alive.

    Or maybe you shouldn’t be able to vote unless you’re a land-owner.

    Many town residents seem to see UVA as a blight upon their precious town, but Charlottesville is what it is precisely because of UVA.

    Aside from all that, this issue affects not just students, but young and poor people in general. As a UVA student who’s also a local, i can say that i know more non-UVA students who’ll be affected by this than UVA students. This will just lead to more demand for appartment buildings, which if you ask me, are much uglier than the houses we have now.

    And finally, why in the hell should the government have the right to tell me who i live with? I mean, who’s the victim of that crime? If you have a problem with your neighbors, you can persecute them for whatever crimes they commit that are actually harming you, or better yet, just work it out with them without bringing the law into it.


  4. Say you livein a nice little neighborhood and then a landowner decides to turn his place into a duplex and drop in 6-8 students. All of the sudden cars are up and down the road. The speed of the cars is generally a bit faster than in a family neighborhood. (ever see how fast the student fly down Cabell ave hill?) It is louder, later and of course the 6-8 rentors will take better care of the house…?

    So if you do not pay Va. taxes, have a Cville parking sticker on your car (if you drive), your permanent address is not Cville, you only live here 8- months a year then yes, I do beleive you deserveless of a say than those who do.

    The question is not how long do you have to live here, but are you really actually living here, or are you "going" here, as in "what are you doing in Cville?"

    "I am going to school…"

    So yes, the general public needs help in protecting themselves and their property from short term students.

    How do I prosecute students for lower quality of life and home depreciation? And have you ever tried to get a student party to actually quiet down? It just does not happen. And the parties run Thrusday, Fri and Sat more often than not. And should I have to "work it out" every year with every new group of students.

    Kids are kids. I was a student at UCSB back in the day when it was the "party school" for about 7 straight years. And for the most part the UVa students are high quality people. I do not fault their desire and abiltiy to stay up late, have fun, explore the world of ideas and other people and generally carouse and have fun. I just want to make sure that I suddenly do not find them doing so next to the house I just put new siding on, hardwood floor into, sheetrocked the basement etc etc.

    But their focus is not what will be best for my neighborhood in ten years? And yes, I beleive that since I live here, not go here to school, that I deserve more say that those who do not.

    Yes, I know it is fairly right wing, Republican, conservative. Welcome to middle age, where you know where your warrenties are all stored and you have tire pressure gauges in every car!

  5. I’m not repiblican, right-wing, etc. but I don’t think it’s appropriate for young kids to overrun communities. It’s as bad for "middle-aged folks" as it is not good for the young students either. I’d like to refer here to "Iron John" from Robert Bly.

  6. In fact, it’s not appropriate for any portion of the population, particularly transitory, to damage the quality of life of others.

    This is something that’s rarely talked about with any seriousness: quality of life.

  7. I have wondered about this many times myself. I have lived in Charlottesville for almost 10 years now. But I did not graduate from UVA or live off-Grounds until 7 years ago. When can I claim to be a "townie"?

    There are times when I want to yell "Hey! Without UVA Charlottesville wouldn’t be what it is today!" but then other times (and most of the time in the last 4 years) I find myself now saying to myself, "When will the students be gone?"

    I still rent because at this time, my husband and I cannot afford to buy a house in Charlottesville. We share an apartment with a friend to share expenses. Since we share a car and I work Downtown, we live near the bus line. Add to that the fact that places we can can afford to rent and allow us to keep our dog are located near the Stadium. But we feel it everyday. Parking on our street isn’t bad, because we live far enough away that it is too much of a hike for most undergrads.

    But we fight the traffic everyday, we hear the parties, the fireworks at 3 am (which wake the dog up and then us) and we’ve had a bit of vandelism nearby.

    I can’t say that limiting the number of renters will change anything. We have several landlords who don’t live in the area (I know I rented from them) so who’s to stop 3 people from signing the lease and having more people live there? Who is going to check?

  8. It seems like a majority of the cvillenews.com population feels that U-Va and the student body should not have much of a voice in this particular issue.

    It will be interesting, then, to see how we react the next time U-Va unilaterally makes a decision. I expect we’ll hear a lot about U-Va being a bad neighbor from the same group of people silencing them here.

    I suppose you gotta be one to see one?

  9. Well, I can say that issues effecting my quality of life are far different as a father of 5 than they were 3 decade ago while in school.

    In fact the gulf is so vast as to be beyond my, and I suspect most undergrads, ability to completely empathize while young.

    I value sleep while it is dark…

    I value a neighborhood with little to no commotion outside that provided by children riding bikes.

    I value a lawnmower that starts on the first pull in spring. (a concern for undergrads?)

    It is the airport analogy: I think that people have a great deal more right to complain about an airport if the airport decides to come to their neightborhood, not if the people decide to move next to the airport.

    And those people should have the right to deny the airport without due consideration.

  10. Like the new parking garage on Ivy. I do not believe that UVa acted in good faith, but only was posturing politcally to CYA in the matter.

    A study of traffic patterns during a student holiday week holds little feasibility in my eyes. I personally do NOT believe that UVa has the best interests in the local population any more so than a huge unaccountable business.

    If they wish to be viewed as a good neightbor they need to act accordingly, not unilaterally. However, when they attend a discussion, it is too convince everyone of the wisdom of their actions. If those around them decline to agree, well they then just go ahead anyway…

    That is not neighborly.

  11. Unilateral decisions by UVA affect its neighbors. Similarly, unilateral decisions by its neighbors affect UVA.

    I was just noting that those currently suggesting that decisions regarding water and housing be made unilaterally without the input of students/UVA will be most likely the same to complain when UVA treats them in an identical manner.

  12. After all, for the most part, Cville’s residents arrived here when UVA was already in business.

  13. It is easy to always take an arguement to the furthest reaches in order to make a point. My philosphy professor often did that.

    But for the sake of reality: Short term, non-residents should not feel they have the same say as those who are full time residents.

    For those paying in state tuition: the answer is yes, residency DOES have its positives.

    Quick question: When was the last time you drove down Rugby and saw dozens of empty beer bottles/cans littering the lawn of a family residence?

  14. The person mentioned that UVa was swiftly approaching some issues that the city was going to have to address.

    To the detriment of the school since they were not responding to requests for attention to issues.

    And that brings me back to the good neighbor issue…

  15. And now, you want the town to ignore UVA on an issue of major import to it.

    Congratulations, though, on the examples. I, too, have had a philosophy professor. He would offer examples of things already acknowledged or otherwise irrelevant. None of us could ever figure out what that crazy professor was up to…

  16. Sometimes allow only those here for a certain time in certain ways to have input on decisions affecting a bigger group of people.

    If that argument does not convince, state the argument as a conclusion.

    I can NEVER recall driving down Rugby and being peevish enough to count the number of beer bottles and cans littering lawns. I can recall locals taking advantage of all that the university offers the town (jobs, culture, etc.) and yet being shocked, again and again, when students live here.

  17. Quick question: When was the last time you drove down Rugby and saw dozens of empty beer bottles/cans littering the lawn of a family residence?

    Man, you should’ve driven past my place on High Street sometime. Beer bottles, liquor bottles, empty solo cups, public urination, hot tub sex. And most of that was from my neighbors’ places! Hmmm, yet they didn’t got to UVa, and neither did I. A couple of them were BORN IN CHARLOTTESVILLE! How can it be?!

    (OK, the public urination was usually associated with my place. But you get the idea.)

  18. "A city official." Ooh, mysterious. Sounds like Blake, Maurice or Kevin shooting his mouth off again. Wait — "the person." Gender-neutral. Meredith.

    Could have been a city staffer, too. Tolbert? Peacock?

    It doesn’t really matter which one, actually. Tweaking UVa is about the only thing they all agree on. It’s all politics, dude.

  19. No, the reasoning goes: Freedom ends where another’s starts. There are certainly gray areas, but by and large, frequent past-midnight eardrum breaking parties, indecent exposures, etc. etc. are simply not acceptable.

    Knowing Hoo2LA, who seems forever enamored with theoretical discussions rather than life realities, may retort that imposing time and comportment restrictions on the young is infringing on their freedoms. This is in fact another (yes, another) issue with America: the reverence of the young at the expense of the wise.

  20. At least that’s a determined opinion!!! Bravo. You can finally join the crowd, where you belong.


    I continue to adjure responsibility for any actual opinion or thought, especially if such an arrogation would drag me into another blase discussion with you.

  22. Knowing Hoo2LA, who seems forever enamored with theoretical discussions rather than life realities,


    I don’t even know where to start listing the funny things about that.

    Boycott France.

  23. SHould you wish to be taken seriously perhaps you would be so kind as too state your examples to back your remise of the City not listening to UVa.

  24. Or rather, you are.

    If you acknowledge that it’s mere politics, then why did you bring it up in the first place? You *were* the one who brought it up, after all.

    It seemed, at least earlier, that you were trying to make some kind of argument from authority based on a conversation you had with Meredith Richards. My point in response was that the good folks in City Hall are prone to saying all kinds of crazy things, truthful or not, just to stick it to UVa.

    But now you’re acknowledging my point. So …?

  25. I suppose I don’t really care if I am taken seriously or not, but in the interest of the spirit of discussion…

    My point, from the beginning, was not that the city has some pernicious history of ignoring the university. No, my point instead was that this desire by some readers to exclude a student voice (and hence a UVA voice) from discussions about capping residents seems hypocritical when it is very likely those same cvillenews.commers that complain so loudly when UVA makes decisions without including the town.

    So, it isn’t the city that I accuse, it is you all here.

  26. Student needs should be met, within reason. But until they are productive citizens, their opinion concerning the environment in which they will be living temporarily should not overshadow the ongoing needs of the non-transitory community.

  27. You’re part of the non-transitory community? I mean, you’re not living here indefinitely, but rather for an infinite stretch of time? Or at least an amount of time for which the four years a student generally spends here is an insignificant period?

    And what do you mean, "productive citizen"? A large portion of the student population works as well as goes to school. Besides, do unproductive (unemployed) citizens some of their rights?

    I agree with you that the needs of the student body should not overshadow the needs of the rest of the town’s population, but i think also that the needs of the town population must not overshadow the needs of the student body (specificly the student body who rents area houses, works local jobs, and resides here year-round).


  28. This may not be a worthwhile dispute to get into, as I sense there’s quite a bit we agree on. When I refer to "productive citizens", that includes hard working students that are here to study and possibly also to work in the local economy. 4 years is certainly enough time for them to feel they’ve got a right to shape their environment.

    My issue, that I articulated admittedly rather poorly, is with the "frat-boy", "party girl" portions of the "student" body. Those ones that are actually the cause of debauchage we are discussing. For these, I would like to limit their say-so. How to identify between the 2 very different ‘animals’? That would be a different debate.

  29. I think we both agree on the political degrees that occupy this arguement. At issue in my point is simple: ONce a certain point is "reached" in the eyes of the community or its leaders, then they feel they have the political clout to direct behaviors/rules/changes that they might not make otherwise.

    And your point that City Hall "will stick it to UVa" certainly points to the argument that UVa is not a good neighbor…

  30. They were at the meeting to get the County to refuse an apartment building that would cater to students.

    The funny part is that they prefered a motel to students.

    Right or wrong, that is the perception of the students in the area. Perceptions had to be developed somehow…

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