By Holly Nunn, Wednesday, May 23, 10:54 AM
Kathy Bryant said last week that she would have liked to sit on her back porch and enjoy the sunshine, but as often happens in her Old Town College Park neighborhood, the University of Maryland students who live in one of the neighboring houses were throwing a loud party.
“We just want a nice, quiet neighborhood,” said Bryant, president of the Old Town College Park Civic Association.
College Park officials — seeking, in part, to cut down on the number of student rental properties in the city — passed a rent-control ordinance to cap rents for rental homes in 2005, which is set to expire in September. The ordinance remained unenforced until it was upheld in court in 2010, after a challenge from individual property owners.
The looming deadline is renewing the debate between the city and landlords about how to make College Park a more livable place for both students and residents like Bryant.
The rent stabilization law was “passed for two reasons,” Mayor Andrew Fellows said, “to keep students from being ripped off, and second, to protect our community, to protect housing for families who want to live and raise their children in College Park,” because investors looking to profit off the student population would be less inclined to buy homes. “These objectives argue for having a local regulatory measure.”
Over the next two months, council members plan to debate the law, with a new ordinance expected to be introduced at a June 12 council meeting with a possible vote on July 10, city officials said.
The Prince George’s Property Owners Association, a coalition of landlords in the College Park area, have been the most vocal opponents of the ordinance, because it caps the amount of money they can charge to rent their homes. Continue reading