Hamden imposing new student housing regulations

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HAMDEN - A video of Quinnipiac University President John Lahey attending a massive off campus party last spring, at a house rented to students in a residential neighbor, was among the motivations for a new college student rental regulation in Hamden.

“For people, who are looking to buy student housing, as an investment or whatever, they would have to live in the complex themselves,” said Bobby Roscow, a member of the Hamden Planning and Zoning Commission.

“I think it's sort of ridiculous,” said Margaret Colasuonno, a 14-year resident of a Hamden neighborhood, where many homes are rented to college students.

“How long has this school been here,” asked Meryl Betancourt, a Quinnipiac University senior marketing major. “You knew you were living in a college town. Don't live here if you don't want to have college kids around here.”

The new measure, which takes effect next Wednesday, December 16, does not require current landlords, who rent to college students, to live in the rental property. That’s fair trade-off, according to the mayor.

“The owner being present, being in the house, certainly is going to add another layer of homeowner responsibility,” said Mayor Curt Balzano Leng.

“You're not going to have a 200-person party if it's your own house,” said Roscow.

“I think it's BS if you have to live with... like, it could be an old creepy man or something,” said Betancourt.

This new regulation will also give zoning enforcement officials permission to make unannounced inspections of homes rented to students, which hadn’t been possible before.

“You can actually make sure that there are a maximum of four students living in one particular dwelling unit,” said Balzano Leng.

One resident told the commission last night that she pays nearly $8,000 per year in taxes for the privilege of not being able to sleep between Thursdays and Sundays.

“I get it, but there's plenty of other places to live,” said Betancourt, who’s from New Jersey.

“A few beers, a few drinks, a little music, never hurt anybody,” said Colasuonno.

The commission is in the talking stages of a plan to create a "university zone" right around the QU campus, which would be a mixed-use development, including stores, restaurants and privately-owned housing, whose owners would not be subjected to the new rental regulations.