Proposed zoning ordinance could do away with student rentals - WNEM TV 5

Proposed zoning ordinance could do away with student rentals

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(Source: WNEM) (Source: WNEM)

University Street is a hot spot for student rental housing near the campus of Central Michigan University, but now it's among many streets that could be forced to change.

A zoning proposal could leave some landlords high and dry, unable to rent out their units to students.

"I kinda like it the way it is," said Ken Curry, resident.

Curry said he has lived with his family on University Street in Mt. Pleasant for more than 50 years. He has even rented out the back part of his residence to students at CMU.

"We've got a bit on investment in it. We're retired now. We kinda like that income," Curry said.

He worries things could change.

The city is proposing a zoning ordinance aimed at creating less living for students and more for single-family homes.

Under the proposal, each residence would house a family or at the most, two non-related people. Which is not ideal for students with multiple roommates.

The proposal would affect the street Curry lives on, along with parts of Franklin and Lansing Street.

The area in total has 64 rental properties, many of which are occupied by students.

Nancy Ridley, Mt. Pleasant city manager, said the current ordinance is outdated.

"We've been working on rewriting the entire zoning ordinance because it hasn't been done since 1984. So we've been on a two year project to totally rewrite the entire zoning ordinance," Ridley said.

If the ordinance does pass, current student housing would only be impacted in three scenarios.

"One is if the owner decides to handle it differently. Second is if it's not used for 12 months in a row. And the third is if it's heavily damaged. Then it would have to be rebuilt as single family," Ridley said.

While it could mean change in only those specific situations, Curry said he is still not on board.

"I just hate to see it change in that situation where people have these investments and kinda count on that," Curry said.

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