Meet State Rep. Sue Helm. The architect of the disaster bill known as PA HB 809. Quite simply stated, this bill would render any local municipal government useless in the ability to control off-campus student housing.
Basically, if you live near animal house, your local municipality would not be able to do one thing about it and well you could get tons of these group rentals where you live and have no say. It is kind of ironic that a Pennsylvania a Republican State Representative seems to think private property rights are so subjective, but hey this is the very nature of politics, right?
Local officials are asking their constituents to contact Representative Helm regarding HB 809. So I did. I did a post to page on her Facebook page. Maybe I should have e-mailed her at firstname.lastname@example.org or tweeted at her @RepHelm because mysteriously like everyone else I know who contacted her through Facebook, the post disappeared. There are no “posts to page” permitted I guess?
Now I was polite, after all she has broadcast all over she is fighting breast cancer. I really wish to be respectful of that as I am a breast cancer survivor. But when I and others take the time to comment on HER legislation PA HB 809 and every comment seems to disappear, what’s to respect ?
I was polite. I asked her if she had ever lived with problem student rentals where she lived? Asked her if she had ever woken up to 20 cars on a neighboring lawn and beer cans and bottles everywhere? (I did)
Had she ever been unable to park on her street because the off campus student rentals always took all the parking?
Or ever had watched as a friend of mine once did as a college student late at night urinated on her porch and her young child’s toys just because they felt like it.
I asked her if she had ever been unable to sell great houses for a long time like friends of mine experienced in a Chester County community because their township turned a blind eye and they lived next to animal house. I know people who had similar issues in Radnor and Lower Merion and Haverford Townships and those are townships which regulate student housing.
I neglected to mention had she ever lived next to a slumlord owners student rental that burned to the ground. I did once upon a time. We watched college students who were seniors lose everything a couple of days before Thanksgiving. And because of wind conditions we were scared for hours the fire would jump to our roofs.
If you live in PA please take the time and post a polite message on this lady’s page or email, phone or tweet at her regarding PA HB 809 which will render local municipalities helpless when dealing with off campus student housing. This bill would hog tie local municipalities and they would be unable to act and help residents and basically it would so bypass any and all local zoning we could get these houses anywhere and everywhere. It would take away our rights.
Imagine West Chester, Tredyffrin, Lower Merion, Haverford Township, Radnor or wherever you lived with off campus student houses that didn’t have to follow any basic community rules and regulations because the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania took our rights away? We already experience this right now if we have any special needs (broad term means more than one thing) group houses in neighborhoods. And much like group student rentals sometimes these houses are ok, but just as often they are not.
Our homes are our castles. The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania doesn’t protect us from wanton development even on old superfund sites, and now they want us to just say yes please may we have some more on group student rentals ?
Please Contact Rep Sue Helm and tell her to stop the nonsense known as HB 809. But make sure you contact your own State Rep to and tell them whatever you tell her.
Community Matters: PA House Bill 809 Would End Tredyffrin’s Right to Regulate Student Housing
PA House Bill 809 sponsored by State Rep Susan Helm of Dauphin and Lebanon Counties will change college rental restrictions if passed.
Helm’s proposed legislation claims that it is discriminatory for municipalities to single out students with rental regulations and would short-circuit any municipal ordinance that prohibits the occupation of a dwelling unity by students or unrelated individuals living together.
The proposed legislation would allow a municipality to enact and enforce ordinances that regulate things like noise levels, parking, and health and safety concerns. House Bill 809 addresses municipal rental restrictions that single out students, suggesting that this is discriminatory, based on an assumption that they will be problem neighbors.
PA House Bill 809 would override any current municipal housing ordinances that restrict the use of single-family homes, as college student rentals. The proposed legislation states that a municipality would not be able to prohibit the occupation of a dwelling based on an individual’s matriculation status (that is, if they are enrolled in college) or on the number of unrelated individuals sharing the property.
In the Mt. Pleasant community of Tredyffrin Township, the conversion of traditionally family-occupied homes to student rental properties has led to ongoing problems among the neighbors. Beyond the late-night noise, increased traffic, liter, illegal parking, the permanent residents of Mt. Pleasant are frustrated with the increasing number of student rentals and what they view as the adverse effects caused by the influx of students.
Because of the ongoing citizen complaints in Mt. Pleasant, Tredyffrin Township passed two ordinances in 2010, which placed zoning restrictions on the student rentals as a way to protect the rights of the permanent residents in the township.
Towns fight for limits on rowdy student neighbors
Laura McCrystal, Inquirer Staff Writer
Last updated: Monday, July 27, 2015, 1:08 AM
Disorderly conduct, disturbing the peace, underage drinking, public urination, Animal House behavior.
Those are perennial complaints in neighborhoods where college students live, local officials say. And with the start of the fall semester just a few weeks away, that’s why they aggressively oppose a bill that would remove their restraints on student housing.
Sponsored by Rep. Sue Helm (R., Dauphin) and backed by landlords, it would prohibit rental discrimination against students and end limits on the numbers of unrelated people allowed to live in a house or apartment.
….In all, more than 50,000 students attend colleges and universities in Philadelphia’s neighboring Pennsylvania counties, and campus housing hardly can accommodate all of them.
Disruptive behavior is inevitable when “you combine youthful exuberance with alcohol,” said Carolyn Comitta, the mayor of West Chester, which hosts West Chester University’s 15,000 students