Solution Suggested

There’s a better way to resolve the Yorktown issue than courts and lawyers.

A hearing Wednesday was supposed to settle the matter of Temple students living in Yorktown and other neighborhoods surrounding Main Campus covered under the North Central Philadelphia Community Special District Controls.

Unfortunately, there was no decision. Instead, there was confusion, wrangling and long-winded expounding by lawyers.

We understand there needs to be a method for the landlords and community to settle their dispute, and the legal system is certainly equipped to do that.

That being said, the legal system, specifically the Zoning Board of Adjustment, has inherent limitations that make it a less than desirable solution to the Yorktown situation.

The first problem is one of mere logistics. The community wants to make its wishes known and wants to make a presence at the hearings for landlords’ appeals. But some are elderly and don’t have cars to drive to Center City to make the hearings. Others have jobs they can’t take days off from on a week’s notice. This is especially problematic considering the first hearing was held at 1 p.m., hardly a convenient time.

Another problem is the financial resources. The community does not have the money to hire the lawyers the landlords have. This leaves them at a disadvantage in the courts.

We believe there is another solution. Instead of involving the courts, the community and the landlords, this solution would change the players. First, the courts would be left out. Second, both Temple and students living in the community would be involved. As we see it, there are four different groups this affects. Those groups are the students, the community, the landlords and Temple.

Why not come together and find a solution ourselves instead of leaving it to obscure precedents and outside boards? The solution on Temple’s end could be to have any students living in special district boundaries sign a statement swearing to maintain the property and keep noise levels down. If too many complaints are fielded by Temple about a property, it could take punitive measures.

The landlords could agree not to change the aesthetic of the neighborhood by not paving over lawns or changing homes too much and keeping all their houses single-family dwellings.

Lastly, a board could be set up involving at least one member from Temple and the community, a landlord and someone from Temple Student Government. These people could be the go-to for any problems or complaints.

This would create a harmonious and functioning relationship among a model community, landlords and a world-class university, instead of leaving the decision up to courts and lawyers.


  1. Your suggestion is the very same one we offered back in November 2003. Yorktown contacted Dr. David Adamany and the Temple University Board of Trustees about the problems created by the business decision of Temple to no longer house upperclassmen and the activities of the speculators. They cooperated by removing all Yorktown addresses from the Temple Off-Campus Housing Web site. We contacted the landlords who refused to hear us. We contacted students moving into the area, who subsequently disrespected the block captains and refused to cooperate. Below is a copy of what was distributed upon first contact with students. All of this was BEFORE the legislation.
    The community members refuse to be denied our constitutional right to quiet and peaceful enjoyment of our homes. We bought our homes here because it is a nice quiet neighborhood. Ironically, that is why the students want to live here also, but they don’t subscribe to what it takes to preserve the community. Legislation was our LAST RESORT, not our first, which put in into the jurisdiction of the courts.

    Temple University Students can live in harmony with the surrounding community residents, if the following information is incorporated into rental/lease agreements. Enforcement of eviction penalties for infractions with vicarious liability for infractions by all associate persons on the property is mandatory.
    Rental Practices For Temple University Students
    Carefully assess the local community:
    • Realize that the residents are stable longtime residents living in single-family homes. The majority in the community are homeowners and retirees.
    • These single-family homes are not detached houses, but row homes connected by common walls, which allow loud sounds to travel back and forth.
    • The residents prefer a quiet peaceful surrounding; free from the rowdiness (e.g. boisterous house parties, loud stereos, TV’s or musical instruments, noisy or aggressive pets) that is characteristic of college students who are away from the watchful eye of their parents.
    • Consider the minimal number of available residential parking spaces in the community before inviting guests. Temple University has provided parking lots for your use throughout the campus, so that you don’t have to park in front of the neighbors’ homes, in the cul-de-sacs or in any driveway other than your rented premises.
    • Realize that the properties are not to be used for business or commercial purposes, including the posting of any signage on the property.
    • Understand that the residents try to respect and cooperate with each other at all times. If you choose to be a resident, the same is expected of you.
    Student Renter’s Responsibilities:
    • Be mindful of and practice fire safety in the premises at all times.
    • Dispose of all ashes, garbage, rubbish and other waste in a clean and safe manner. Keep trash cans tightly lidded, so that animals cannot disperse the contents.
    • Observe the trash pickup and recycling regulations for this area. Trash pickup is on Mondays. Recycling pickup is on every other Monday.
    • In winter, you must shovel snow from the walkway in front of your premises in accordance with the city ordinance regarding snow removal.
    • Use electrical, plumbing and heating facilities in a safe and careful manner. Immediately report any problem with these systems to the landlord.
    • Do not destroy, deface, damage, impair, or remove any part of the premises.
    • Conduct yourself and require other persons on the premises with your consent, to conduct themselves in a manner that will not disturb the neighbor’s peaceful and quiet enjoyment of their home. The Community Town Watch/Eyes and Ears Unit will report all drug use and drug traffic with license plate numbers to authorities.
    • Underage Drinking will be reported to several law enforcement agencies; Temple Police, Philadelphia Police, and the PA State Police Liquor Control Enforcement Task Force.
    • You will be held liable if your guests trespass on a neighboring property causing a condition which impacts the homeowner; e.g. urine, vomit, cigarette butts, physical damage.
    • It is also your responsibility to be cordial when the block captain comes to make introductions. The block captain serves as intermediary or advocate if you have a problem while you are a resident of this community.
    • You are responsible for your pets, the proper disposal of their waste, and the proper turnover of care at the end of your tenancy. Do not release or abandon pets in the neighborhood streets.
    • Skateboarding and/or street games are not acceptable after hours (10PM) in the Yorktown Community.

    Authored and submitted by Pam Pendleton Smith, Yorktown Homeowner 1205 W. Oxford St. 19122 Home -215-235-3809 – email:
    Copyright © 2003 Fortitude Communication Services All Rights Reserved.

  2. I neglected to mention this publication was submitted in 2003, in addition to the first student tenants, to Dr. David Adamany, President; Mr. William Bergman, Vice President of Operations; Mr. Thomas Anderson, Community Liasion; Ms. Lisa Prestileo, Off-Campus Housing Director; and the Temple University Board of Trustees.
    Dr. Adamany, Ms. Prestileo, and the Board of Trustees received it via hardcopy as an enclosure to a letter. Mr. Bergman and Mr. Anderson received it via email.

  3. I thank you for having the courage,to speak your mind on behalf of the students of T U and the administration to try to come up with a solution,but once again I think the main piont is not being address and that is the landlords atempt to overide the presnt ordinaces that are in place. The Yorktown residents, and I can proudly say, most of them do not have a problem with most of the students T U . Yorktown is a unique area and we are trying hard to keep it that way.

  4. Pam-
    It says nowhere in the Constitution that you have a right to “quiet and peaceful enjoyment of your home.” It does, in the Bill of Rights, outline the rights applicable to all of us-one of which is equal protection under the law. To use a law to throw people out of their residence because of the fact that they fall under the category of “student” is discrimination, and you, Pam, are guilty of it. It is no different than if someone were to refuse to sell a home to a family that they felt “didn’t belong in that neighborhood.” It’s not anyone else’s business to judge who belongs where.

    Students who have done nothing wrong but live four to a home should not face eviction-especially not when the landlord rented them the home and did not inform them of this law. Students do not want to live in this neighborhood because it’s “quiet”-it’s close to campus and convenient, and anyone who bought a home there knew that Temple students shared the local area.

    As for your handout; it seems very condescending to college students in general, but we have as much right to be here as you do. Telling certain members of the community that they shouldn’t invite too many people over because you want the parking spaces left on the street is rude and insulting. Why don’t you pay the fee to park in Temple’s parking lots if you get there after us?

    We are *good* neighbors to this community. Temple sends out community service groups that help local elementary schools, shovel snow from sidewalks and driveways for elderly residents, and help the local community in other ways. We care about this community, and we are a part of it. You seem to care less what happens to Temple and its students.

    Last thought-Many Temple students are registered to vote at home instead of Philadelphia. This takes away much of our power and voice here and means that in a situation like this, politicians will side with people like Pam and throw us out on the street. Perhaps the solution would be for all those affected by this law to change their voter registration to their Temple address. Then we can make ourselves heard and demand to be allowed to remain in the community that we’d like to peacefully share.

  5. Greetings Student,

    Maybe you are not originally from this area, so I would advise you to check the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Constitution Article 1 Section 1. Read what it says and understand the intent.

    Also check the discrimination laws. STUDENT is not a protected catagory such as gender, race, age, religion, sexual orientation, etc. Therefore this is NOT a case of discrimination.

    I am sure you know, even if you don’t subscribe to it, that there is a certain immaturity of thought that goes with being a college student. This is coupled with a belief that certain acts of mischief are supposed to be perpetrated by young people because they are college students. Public drunkenness is one and vandalism is another.

    This public drunkenness happens on Temple’s campus and The Temple News knows just how often it happens, since the News publishes the Campus Crime Report. Yet some would have this and other misdeeds occur in our community making the area akin to what used to be called “skid row.”

    Again, We are fighting for our Pennsylvania Constitutional right to quiet and peaceful enjoyment of our homes. If you are still unconvinced of this right, check with any of your friends attending Beasley Law, and ask about this concept.

  6. Greetings Pam,

    If I refused to sell a car to anyone in North Philadelphia, even to someone with a perfect credit rating, I could try to say that I simply don’t like people who live there. But the real reason would be obvious-racial discrimination, especially when people in Rittenhouse Square are buying my cars with low credit ratings. I might try, as you are, to say that the real discrimination is against a non-protected group (people living in North Philadelphia, or in your case, students). But the real reason is obvious-age discrimination in your case, and racial discrimination in my hypothetical case.

    I watch the news and I see that certain ethnic groups appear to be responsible for the majority of the crimes committed in this city. Does this mean that I can refuse them housing? No. Your argument against us is full of bigotry. You accuse us of public drunkenness and vandalism. You base your argument for banning us from your neighborhood on this fact. You actually say that allowing us into your community would “make the area akin to what used to be called ‘skid row'”.

    I suggest that all Temple students not only change their voter registration to their Temple addresses, but that they stop financially supporting Yorktown businesses. Until we have a right to live here, we will not support this community.

  7. Student,

    There are no “Yorktown Businesses.” That is what makes this community unique. It is zoned completely residential; single-family only. Commercial activity is banned in the Yorktown Community, banned by law (zoned R9A) and by Covenant of Restrictions attached to our deeds. The creation of rooming houses is the only business in the Yorktown Community and that business is illegal. So, please, strongly encourage your friends and classmates to stop financially supporting the only business in Yorktown (rooming houses); and if they will heed you, our problem is solved.
    Thank you very much!

  8. 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…

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