Councilman introduces bill to prohibit local student housing

If passed, a new bill would prohibit students from living in certain areas around Main Campus.

Last night, Sept. 22, City Councilman Darrell Clarke introduced a bill that seeks to put an end to student-community tensions by halting development projects for student housing.

If passed, the bill would prohibit new multiple-family dwellings, apartment houses, tenement houses, student housing not owner-occupied and fraternity and sorority houses.

Clarke, a Democrat representing the fifth council district, reportedly cited students’ disrespectful behavior and tension between students and long-time residents in the community surrounding Main Campus as reasons for introducing the bill.

According to the bill, the borders would be outlined as follows: “N 19th Street on the west, Lehigh Avenue on the north, Ninth Street on the east, southward along 9th Street to Cecil B. Moore Avenue, westward along Cecil B. Moore Avenue to 13th Street, southward along 13th Street to Girard Avenue, and Girard Avenue from 13th Street to 19th Street on the south.”

“Where else do they want us to live? There isn’t enough housing on campus,” senior theater major Calvin Atkinson said.

ANGELO FICHERA TTN Rental homes in the neighborhoods surrounding Main Campus are often geared toward Temple students.

Atkinson said he enjoys living off campus because it gives him experience of “living in the real world,” opposed to living in a residence hall. He added that he has not had any troubles with his neighbors on the 1800 block of North Willington Street.

Sophia Stuckey, a long-time resident on Atkinson’s street, said she hasn’t experienced too much trouble with students but did note trash as an ongoing issue.

“When they do have parties, a lot of times they won’t clean up,” Stuckey said.

Teresa Taylor, who lives on 18th street between Montgomery Avenue and Berks Street, said students leaving their trash in front of their homes is an issue she believes is improving but still prevalent.

“There’s just a lot of screaming. I guess that’s just a part of life,” Taylor said. “I think they should try to build a rapport with neighbors.”

Courtney Zambetti, a senior kinesiology major, said most problems she hears about deal with local residents.

“Seventy-five percent of the time, [problems are] due to the residents,” Zambetti said. “I think it goes both ways.”

Peter Crawford of the Temple Area Property Association, a coalition of local landlords that represents about 300 buildings in the Main Campus area, said his organization often deals with student-community relations.

Crawford decried Clarke’s plans, citing a revitalization in North Philadelphia that has arisen as a result of the influx of students moving into the neighborhood.

“This area was a ghost town 15, 20 years ago, before students started living around campus,” Crawford said.

Crawford said Clarke’s bill would create a student-exclusion zone around Main Campus. He added that Clarke’s new bill is an extension of the ordinance that prohibits most students from living in the Yorktown neighborhood.

“We have been working for the past year with Councilman Clarke on a neighborhood improvement district…that was created to address community members’ concerns,” Crawford said. “Before he called us [on Wednesday,] we had no idea. This wasn’t even on the radar screen.”

Clarke was not available for comment at press time.

If passed, Crawford said, the bill would likely make the university less attractive to prospective students because it would set the neighborhood back 15 years.

The university does not have a position on the bill because it deals with land not owned by Temple, said Ray Betzner, assistant vice president of university communications.

“Temple University expects its students to be good residents of Philadelphia,” Betzner said, adding that, for the most part, they are.

Betzner said university representatives meet with Clarke periodically, but was unsure if the councilman had given Temple any indication that he would be introducing the legislation.

Temple Student Government Vice President of External Affairs Elliot Griffin said there’s no denying that there has been a rift between some students and community members.

“I realize that [Clarke’s] core constituency are people who have been living here for generations. But at the same time, I think we recognize the reasons students are moving out into the community is because Temple has just seen amazing growth over the years, and we can’t house everyone here,” Griffin said.

Griffin added that Temple employs many local residents, as well.

“I think we can all admit that there are some rowdy students on Saturday nights…but I don’t think that it’s the masses of Temple students,” Griffin said. “Those just happen to be the students who get attention.”

Angelo Fichera can be reached at afichera@temple.edu.

For an expanded version of this story, pick up The Temple News on Tuesday, Sept. 27.

18 Comments

  1. passing a bill so ludicrous would only cut off revenue brought by present residents and visiting families friends and tourist!! a college town as everyone knows is Big Money for any state! weighing the pros and cons!

  2. This bill amounts to little more than political pandering. It’s the type of bill that won’t pass, can’t pass, and would fail to hold up for long because the truth of the matter is, without the economic stimulus that students bring to North Philadelphia there is little going for the neighborhood. The “conflict” between students and long-term residents is overblown; for every example of an unruly student, there can be an example of an unruly resident. Every party, every drunk stumbling around, every time someone throws trash on the ground, whether it be Temple Student or someone else, there is another example on the other side.

  3. This politician is out of touch with reality. There’s only one reason that this area has been seeing improvements and it’s 100% due to the students. It would certainly set the area back 15 years at least like the article states, and would become even more crime ridden than it already is. By the way, there are no bills proposing that the local residents shouldn’t be allowed on Temple’s campus, and I think we could all benefit from a reduction in panhandlers and broken in cars…just my two cents

  4. Simple math, let’s make a list of local businesses that benefit from temple growth not to mention most lots and run down houses that are developed owed the city of Philadelphia back taxes and or liens of some sort. From food cart vendors to local building supply houses all benefit. It is a shame that a councilman makes it so clear getting reelected is much more important to him then the big picture that this area he is supposed to represent with out temple development will stay a vacant drug infested crime ridden area which it has been since the 60’s. But thats what gets him reelected

  5. Simple math, let’s make a list of local businesses that benefit from temple growth not to mention most lots and run down houses that are developed owed the city of Philadelphia back taxes and or liens of some sort. From food cart vendors to local building supply houses all benefit. It is a shame that a councilman makes it so clear getting reelected is much more important to him then the big picture that this area he is supposed to represent with out temple development will stay a vacant drug infested crime ridden area which it has been since the 60’s. But thats what gets him reelected Let’s all do our best not to let this stop in progress for the city happen.

  6. I encourage all Temple students residing in the 5th district to register to vote in Philadelphia if you’re not already registered. You have just as much of a right to live in North Philadelphia as anyone else, don’t let corrupt politicians like Clarke push you around! So register to vote and give yourself a voice in local government, and vote out Clarke this fall!

  7. And the trash comments are hilarious. Have you guys seen the behavior of some of the long time residents? Pointing the finger at either side and saying “SEE! SEE! Look they litter also!” is a weak excuse everyone. Pick up your trash, all of you!

  8. Darryl Clarke is the leading “poverty pimp” of Philadelphia politics. His act has worn thin, and Fifth District residents like myself that want to improve our neighborhoods want him OUT. Unfortunately there aren’t enough educated voters in the district to do so. Thus, WE NEED HELP FROM TEMPLE STUDENTS. We need you to register to vote in the city, and then go vote for someone that realizes the value that Temple brings to the city!

  9. This is another example of the poverty pimping that is so common in Philadelphia politics. Pander to the people holding the city back and obstruct the institutions interested in progress and a brighter future for Philadelphia. While there are problems this bill is the product of a small but very vocal group that is more intersted in keeping the status quo.

  10. Clarke already won the primary handily and there’s no Republican running against him. The only way to make your voice heard is through a write-in campaign. Vote for Mickey Mouse!

  11. Seriously –
    >
    > If North Philly resembled anything like “Animal House,” there would
    > a
    > whole lot of folks who would be glad, not mad. Has this Council
    > person
    > ever walked the streets of North Philly? I don’t believe for a
    > minute
    > that he has. Does he stay sheltered by the police district at 17th
    > &
    > Montgomery? Wherever he is, he is definitely hidden because if, for
    > a
    > moment, he believes that the worst problems around Temple University
    > are
    > caused by the students, well, then, let’s just say he needs to get
    > educated (Temple University right near by – he should check it out)
    > and
    > look at the crime statistics.
    >
    > Oh, and how about those jacked up cars that you can hear from
    > blocks
    > away
    > because the music in the car is so loud, that it literally rocks
    > the
    > neighborhood.
    >
    > If he lived and was part of North Philly by Temple University, he
    > would
    > see the drug dealing, the constant thefts of whatever is not nailed
    > down,
    > the senseless beatings and THE SHOOTINGS.
    >
    > This person is out of their mind. The trash – heck, every time I
    > ride
    > through N. Philly, I see people throwing things out of their car on
    > N.
    > Broad Street. And how about the “trashy” neighbors who don’t know
    > what
    > a
    > trash bag is – they use the curb as such. They get fined again, and
    > again, and again, but nothing at all happens and the trash remains.
    >
    > And has he seen all of the abandoned property?
    >
    > I can’t believe this person is a councilman. How the heck did that
    > happen? Is it really that easy to become one?
    >
    > He should be thanking God that Temple U exists and brings with it
    > the
    > police force that it has.

    And the fact is common ground already exists for those living there, whether they are a student or not. The differentiation comes into play only because of the high risk area students live in and Temple’s efforts to keep them alive but the benefit gotten from all of North Philly is that the police are doing what they can to keep everybody safe. Let’s attack the real issues in North Philly and stop the nonsense of all the trouble that the students cause. One does not equal the other. My bet is the crime outweighs “quality of life” issues caused by students by 95%.

  12. You have to think that maybe Councilman Clarke is just trying to get Temple’s attention to try to crack down on student misbehavior—or maybe he’s trying to extract some kind of monetary concession. But he can’t be seriously trying to ban off-campus student housing. No local politician, not even in Philadelphia, would be that dumb. Right?

  13. The old, bitter, drug & alcohol abusing, ignorant and racist people living in the Yorktown community make absolutely no sense in their attempt to fight against individuals looking to drop big bucks into their drug ridden, inner city blighted, grocery cart pushing, ghetto. No DECENT family in their right mind would want to reside in North Filthy and the majority of people who live there, only stay because they can’t afford to leave.

    These Yorktown Fools prefer to leave abandoned houses scattered throughout the vicinity and treat COLLEGE STUDENTS as criminals when they allow their own kids & neighbors to rob, steal and sell drugs right out of their own backyards. Black people like myself should be embarrassed by the actions of these Yorktown Fools. I would NEVER raise my children in such a broke down, beat up community. Without Temple, Yorktown would be nothing. This sorry excuse for a community has absolutely no validity and no future and it is only a matter of time before these people rot away and their kids sell their souls, LIBERATING the landscape of lost hope…

  14. Whats crazy is that everyone is only looking from one side of the spectrum. How can someone who has lived in this community for more than a semester talk about solely the residence or even talk about nor allowing Philadelphia residents to walk through campus.

    This is a community rich in history and has been through a lot of.You think the residents decided to build crack houses and be impoverished. The university has provided a lot for this community, but Temple has benefited greatly from the community as well.

    This Bill probably won’t pass, but I’m glad it was proposed so they can see how ignorant and selfish some Temple students are.

    If people from another came and disrupted where you lived all your life and told you it’s your fault how would you Feel?

    I guess all this diversity at Temple doesn’t do much for some of the many close minds that attend this institution

  15. Honey, no one lives there for a semester; like any other renter, there is a year lease. One year x 4 = they are your neighbors for four years, it doesn’t matter that they go to school and you choose not to. You are neighbors. You are right. It is a community rich in history and will continue to be so only by Temple’s presence. Temple is not there to say that anyone is better than anyone else. That is why its students come from so many backgrounds. The sad fact is people let fear take over. I applaud anyone who fights back and if the council butthead doesn’t like the fact that a student defended himself… after being shot … HAS ANYONE DRUG TESTED THIS COUNCIL PERSON? I, as one, am making this request. I know that a series of circumstances can set the stage but it doesn’t have to be the ending, just a chapter. I have to disagree with Temple benefiting, they are giving and doing more than the community does for itself. And that an institution like Temple cares more about you than you do yourself, that’s sad. The students are trying to makea a better life for themselves. Buttheads exist amongst any group. When you classify all people from such backgrounds and persecute them all, that’s prejudice. There is no students versus long-time residents. There are neighbors in a neighborhood. If the improvements and the police presence are disrupting your “way of life,” I strongly suggest you move out further. You represent the “closed-minded” but it doesn’t have to be that way. No one can make you feel inferior without giving them your permission. Avail yourself to a class at Temple, just to broaden your mind, pick a class you want to take. And let the ball roll from there, where you can feel better about yourself, and know that a fraction of a select group should not equal prejudice. That is bad for everyone and the world. The students are not selfish by not giving money out to everyone who asks. They are not selfish by not buying dope, guns, or whatever from the neighborhood. The students simply want a better way of life and are willing to work for it? Can you say the same?

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