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Quinnipiac University proposes adding 300 more beds on York Hill Campus

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HAMDEN – Quinnipiac University announced Friday that it will submit plans as soon as possible to the Town of Hamden to add an additional 300 beds on its York Hill Campus.

“Quinnipiac wants as many students as possible to live in university-owned housing,” said Lynn Bushnell, vice president for public affairs in a statement released today. “Our hope is the addition of 300 beds demonstrates how committed we are to alleviating concerns about the number of students living in the community.”

In 2007, the Planning and Zoning Commission gave the university approval to build up to 2,000 beds on the York Hill Campus. The University constructed 1,500 of the 2,000 beds and is now looking to add 300 more. The university plans to seek approval for the additional 200 beds in the future, once the 300 new beds are filled, according to the statement.

In September of 2014, the University had 271 empty beds, which it hoped to fill in September of 2015.

Sal Filardi, vice president for facilities and capital planning, said construction of the new beds will begin immediately after the town approves the estimated $33 million project.

“Ideally, we’d like to make these beds available to students for the start of the Fall 2016 semester, but that would require swift approval by the Town of Hamden,” he said in the statement.

In addition, the university is urging the Planning and Zoning Commission to rewrite its student housing regulations to protect residential neighborhoods and where possible restrict, if not eliminate, the possibility of absentee landlords renting to unrelated people/students in primarily residential neighborhoods.

Last month, the Planning and Zoning Commission extended its one-year moratorium on issuing new student housing permits for six months, while it rewrites its regulations. The university remains a strong supporter of the moratorium, and would like to see the moratorium in primarily residential neighborhoods to be extended and made permanent.

According to President John L. Lahey, the University will invite Hamden residents to attend a town/gown forum in September. In addition, the university is planning to form a town/gown committee comprised of university representatives, town officials, neighborhood association representatives and members of the Mount Carmel business community to address these and other town/gown issues going forward, according to the statement.

Acting Mayor Pascarella released a statement Thursday at 6:30 in response to Quinnipiac’s announcement:

“We are in receipt of Quinnipiac University’s statement regarding the construction of 300 new beds on the York Hill Campus. It is our understanding that this new construction will be of the “condo” type in order to attract upper classmen. Assuming the University doesn’t increase its enrollment, this is encouraging and a step in the right direction.

However, the University urging the Planning and Zoning Commission to “restrict, if not eliminate, the possibility of absentee landlords renting to unrelated people/students in primary residential neighborhoods” is legally questionable and may be unconstitutional.

Since the video footage of the May Weekend party on Delsole Road, we were hoping that the University would take some responsibility for their students’ disruptive off-campus behavior.

Unfortunately, Quinnipiac’s continued insistence that off-campus student behavior is a municipal problem, is disappointing. Until the University accepts some responsibility for their students’ behavior, the Town of Hamden will have no choice but to consider law enforcement alternatives.

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