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Thursday May 25, 2017
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Island Hopping



Ann Arbor's debate a few years ago about limiting rental conversions in South Burns Park, it turns out, was minor compared to the decades-long power struggle in Newark, Delaware. Gumprecht describes how a home owner-dominated city council progressed from limiting the number of people allowed to share a rental unit (eventually settling on three, half Ann Arbor's limit) to requiring eviction of tenants repeatedly convicted of noise offenses or disorderly conduct. When that failed to stem the tide of University of Delaware students moving out from campus, he writes, the city passed "an ordinance that prohibited new student rentals within a specified distance (usually 500 feet) of existing student rentals in single-family neighborhoods."

While moving legally to limit the student ghetto, Newark, like Ann Arbor, also pressed the university to build more housing, and approved large new apartment buildings close to campus. Reflecting similar pressures and opportunities around the country, Newark's University Courtyard complex was created by the same national company that last year opened the Courtyards on Plymouth Road in Ann Arbor--reusing both the name and the architectural style.

Because they face so many of the same issues, politics in other college towns often plays out as a sort of alternative political reality. In both Ann Arbor and Boulder, for instance, city leaders tried to ban old couches from student front porches--but while Ann Arbor's effort failed, Boulder's passed.

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