Residents and Students Share Concerns, Hope on City’s Rental Properties

Quality of Life Public Forum, January 29, 2013

An estimated 100 residents, students and landlords gathered last night at the City Council chamber to talk about College Park’s rental properties and their impacts on the quality of life.

The meeting was organized by City’s “neighborhood stabilization work group”, a group that was formed by the City Council after it decided to put rent stabilization on hold for a year and try out other ways to address rental property related issues that the residents are experiencing.  The group consists of city’s major stakeholders, such as residents, students and landlords.

Most of last night’s speakers include city’s long time residents and students, however a few landlords also spoke at the event.

Here are my notes that I gathered from nearly 3 hour long testimonies.

  • Problems include: public urination, car breaking / vandalism, mirrors ripped off the car, car window was smashed, stuff stolen from porch
  • lack of communication between students and residents (more events like College Park clean up day and Farmer’s market are needed)
  • Code enforcement is needed for all college park properties, not only rentals. North College Park does not really have
  • Student parties are different than the parties that long time residents have
  • Noise due to dogs in the night – cannot sleep.
  • More recycling containers needed on Route 1.
  • Many municipal and County laws related to code violations are not enforced adequately
  • 10-15% of rental houses are problematic, not all. It’s the minority
  • Landlords should be made to pay the fines that the students are asked to pay when they violate code on rental properties.
  • Bring back parties to fraternities. Closing parties at the fraternity houses have brought parties to residential areas.
  • Students parties on Route 1 are too dangerous. Business cannot be opened later than 11pm.
  • Code enforcement should be enforced vigorously
  • Trash and noise – Students need to be more respectful
  • Vandalism , Enforcement of under age drinking, and code enforcement
  • More interaction between residents and students. Exchange emails and numbers. They are all neighbors.
  • To make College Park more inviting, we need to address quality of life issues.
  • Lowering decibel level to have a stronger noise enforcement. Other college towns have stricter decibel level.
  • Resident knew that there will be problems before moving to College Park
  • Community’s outlook to students is not very positive
  • Mazza grand mart student suffer from noisy heating system installed just outside of her room.
  • Pepco does not replace street lights, making streets very dangerous in the night.
  • We do not need to stop parties , but enforce the rules that govern these parties
  • Support extending University’s Student Code of Conduct to the residential areas
  • Students deserve the respect from the community
  • Have a student panel among students
  • Have students parties, so that police can focus on their work
  • Stronger enforcement of fines
  • late hour drinking and parties.
  • Got answering machines response when called 911 after violent crime
  • Students are also victim of crime in College Park
  • More mixed rental Co-Op housing where residents and students can live in the same property
  • More positive contacts need to be made with students causing problems
  • Landlords should pay for the code enforcement
  • Need more community engagements
  • Replace noise fine reduction by community engagement hours
  • The ratio of owner occupied to rental houses has gone down from 70% to 20%
  • Fornication in both back and the front yard
  • Make the University of Maryland responsible for all student related issues. The City and the residents cannot do this alone.
  • Rental houses have become party houses
  • Contract police officers should be allowed to take noise reading
  • Students don’t have affordable houses. They are forced to live in the residential neighborhoods to get low rents.
  • City Council should be given more authorities in enforcing noise and code enforcement
  • UMD and County police must work collaboratively towards the quality of life issues
  • Need to have a mix use of rental and owner occupied properties
  • Need to have a stronger police force, such a s College Park’s own police force.
  • Use nuisceance abatement law to curb violations by non-complaint landlord
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