Quinnipiac, Hamden dispute agreement over housing students

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HAMDEN — Quinnipiac University faces a $150-per-day fine from the Hamden Planning and Zoning Commission, which is accusing the school of violating a condition of a 2006 housing agreement that led to construction of the York Hill campus.

A university spokesperson said Quinnipiac is appealing the fine.

The agreement, in the eyes of Hamden town officials, requires Quinnipiac to provide a bed for each student to reduce the number of undergraduate students living in residential neighborhoods.

The university's lawyer says it interprets the condition to mean it must provide a bed for every student who wants one. In that case, the condition has been fulfilled because the school has about 300 beds available this semester.

Town officials said the condition requires the school to have one bed for every student regardless of whether the bed is used. Using that definition, the school is short about 1,315 beds.

Junior Sarah Harris calls the fine "ridiculous."

"Empty beds is not helping anyone and providing more empty beds still isn't helping anyone," Harris said, preferring money spent on extra beds be used for a new campus stadium, to pay for students' work-study and other things of greater value to students.

Harris, who has friends that live off-campus, said they won't move back to the dorms no matter how many beds are available. "We have a strict visitor policy so that bothers a lot of people who have boyfriends and girlfriends who go to different schools and can't visit them," said Harris. "People are finding cheaper opportunities to live off campus, elsewhere and just more responsibility."

Hamden resident Tim Theroux agrees that adding more beds isn't the answer.

"I don't think that's going to solve the problem because they have more beds than they know what to do with right now," said Theroux, who has had some issues with off-campus students in recent months.

"Lot of late night partying. We've had some property damage, you know, just overall nuisance factor," said Theroux, who declined to say if he'd prefer no off-campus housing.

Theroux's neighbor, Bryan Lambert, said he sees both sides of the battle.

"I understand they want them on campus but you get to be an older student like I was and you want to be off-campus. You know, some of the older students. Juniors and seniors. So, I understand that," said Lambert, who has lived in his house since the 1970s.

Hamden officials had no further comments pending Quinnipiac's appeal of the town's notice of violation. The hearing before the Zoning Board of Appeals is scheduled for March 19.

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