Amherst residents push to get students out of single family homes

AMHERST, N.Y. (WIVB)- There’s a push in Amherst to stop college students from sharing single family homes.

“Houses have been trashed, the neighborhoods look trashy,” said Mark Rivard of Hendricks Boulevard in Amherst.

Rivard voiced his concerns at a recent Town Board meeting. He said it’s not the students specifically he has a problem with, but with UB’s south campus so close to his neighborhood, he feels the block has suffered.

“They’re usually pretty well behaved, it’s just they don’t take care of the property.”

Many residents in the Eggertsville neighborhood agree with Rivard, and feel single family homes serving as housing for four or more students is bad for their block.

Amherst Supervisor Brian Kulpa, who was sworn in less than a month ago, agrees there’s a issue.

“In Eggertsville specifically, we have a problem, we have sort of repressed property values with make it attractive for somebody to purchase those and turn them into income properties and lease them to students.”

But putting a new rule in place might not be the way to go, he told News 4.

One proposed change would ban four our more people from living together in a single family home unless they are related, married, or have a legally binding relationship like adoption or foster care.

Opponents of the change have said it’s unconstitutional to define family.

“There is definitely a need with student housing and there’s definitely a need to eliminate problems in our neighborhoods, specifically places like Eggertsville. However, I’m not sure that trying to define family is necessarily the best step,” Kulpa said.

The supervisor said enforcing existing laws could curb some residents’ concerns. Rivard though, wants town lawmakers to go one step further.

“I think we need to have a new law on the books, plus enforcement,” Rivard told News 4.

There was a public hearing on the issue last week, a carryover from the town’s previous administration under Supervisor Barry Weinstein.

For now the debate’s on hold, as are the proposed changes. The town board would need to motion to have the law changed, and then vote.

Kulpa is kicking off what he calls community-based planning in early February, starting in Eggertsville and Snyder.

The issue of student housing he said, will be a focus.

 

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