University to request to build 300 beds

New housing on York to cost estimated $33 million

By on May 22, 2015

The university announced Friday that it will soon submit plans to the town of Hamden to build 300 more beds on the York Hill campus, according to MyQ. This will cost the university an estimated $33 million.

This decision comes after the Zoning Board of Appeals ruled last night against the university’s appeal of the Planning and Zoning Board’s February cease-and-desist order, according to the New Haven Register. This order stated the university does not provide on-campus housing for every undergraduate student, meaning it is violating a condition Quinnipiac agreed to when it built the York Hill campus. The university appealed this cease-and-desist order, arguing that it only has to provide beds for students who want them.

In a Feb. 13 citation letter, the town said it would fine the university $150 per day until it received approval to build more housing.

“Quinnipiac wants as many students as possible to live in University-owned housing,” Vice President for Public Affairs Lynn Bushnell said in a statement. “Our hope is the addition of 300 beds demonstrates how committed we are to alleviating concerns about the number of students living in the community.”

Hamden’s Acting Mayor James Pascarella said in a statement that he believes the new housing will be a “condo type” to attract upperclassmen.

“Assuming the university doesn’t increase its enrollment, this is encouraging and a step in the right direction,” Pascarella said in a statement.

Sal Filardi, vice president for facilities and capital planning, said the university wants this project done as soon as possible.

“Ideally, we’d like to make these beds available to students for the start of the fall 2016 semester, but that would require swift approval by the town of Hamden,” he said in a statement.

Once the 300 new beds are filled, the university plans to add 200 more beds, according to MyQ.

Building new beds to campus has been a long time coming. When the university built the York Hill campus, the town gave the university permission to have 2,000 beds, but the university only constructed 1,500. Filardi said in November 2013 that the university hoped to add 600 beds by fall 2015, but these plans were delayed.

Town officials and residents have urged the university to add additional housing on campus to decrease the number of students living off campus. Some members of the Hamden community have complained in the past about students who live off campus because of large parties and other behavior that is not conducive to residential areas. This issue came to the forefront at the end of April when President John Lahey attended an off-campus party and was filmed dancing with students and joking about buying more off-campus houses.

Pascarella said in a statement that he is still bothered by how the university handled Lahey’s appearance at the party.

“Since the video footage of the May Weekend party on Delsole Road, we were hoping that the University would take some responsibility for their students’ disruptive off-campus behavior,” Pascarella said in a statement. “Unfortunately, Quinnipiac’s continued insistence that off-campus student behavior is a municipal problem, is disappointing. Until the university accepts some responsibility for their students’ behavior, the town of Hamden will have no choice but to consider law enforcement alternatives.”

The university plans to hold a town/gown forum in September where Hamden residents will be invited to discuss these issues, according to MyQ. Quinnipiac also aims to create a town/gown committee made up of university and community members.

In the MyQ announcement the university reaffirmed its support for the Planning and Zoning Commission’s one-year moratorium on issuing new student housing permits, which the commission recently extended for another six months. The university said it hopes the moratorium becomes permanent.

The university also encouraged the Planning and Zoning Commission to rewrite its student housing regulations to prevent absentee landlords from renting to students in mainly residential neighborhoods.

Pascarella called this suggestion “legally questionable” and possibly unconstitutional.

Stay with The Chronicle for updates.

UPDATE MAY 25: This article was updated to include a statement from Hamden’s Acting Mayor James Pascarella.

Photo by Bryan Lipiner

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Year: 2016
Major: Print journalism