Why kick students out of their apartments? Why force homeowners to lose the value of their property? The answer goes back to a surge of assumptions that has led some residents around BYU to place all the blame for neighborhood ills on students. Now they want to pass a law preventing absentee landlords from renting two units of a home, a move that would eliminate several student apartments.
There is no evidence supporting the notion that neighborhoods are worse off when a home is used for two rental units instead of one. Not only does the proposed zoning change hurt those students and landlords — with losses easily reaching hundreds of thousands of dollars — it also hurts the people who support the change, whether they know it or not.
It is disturbing that advocates of the zoning change are unwilling to compromise by allowing the usual grandfathering of existing apartments. It is especially troubling that so many residents that are proponents of the change to evict BYU students are BYU professors. If it is about noise, parking and yards, then why not adopt standards and use neighborhood councils to encourage compliance by both students and families? Probably because it is always easier to gun down a scapegoat and deal with the blood than it is to employ the more civil tools of neighborly cooperation.
Win-win solutions are possible. Please voice your opposition to the S-overlay amendment at the City Council meeting on Tuesday at 7 p.m.