To the Editor:
Bowling Green Council members seem ready to vote in favor of Pedestrian Residential regulations that hundreds of citizens have publicly opposed.
Some members claim, in the face of widespread disbelief, that more divided houses will benefit the young people who need housing in our town, not just the real estate investors who currently buy up every building that comes on the market.
Never mind that in the past six months not one homeowner (to the best of my recollection) has come forward begging to divide his house in two and rent out half of it. Never mind that dozens have spoken against the process of “apartmentizing” that our local landlords are so fond of promoting.
Joe DeMare, a candidate for mayor on the Green Party ticket, appealed for council to heed the wishes of the numerous residents who have attended sessions and shared their views. He pointed out that landlords who own a huge percentage of dwellings in our town have lawyers, threaten legal action and enjoy “outsized influence” thanks to their wealth.
The president of council felt the need to remark that he and fellow members don’t value the opinions of wealthy individuals above those of anybody else. But another citizen recently posted: “During the 15 years we lived on South Prospect, it was like trying to save a leaky boat with a bucket. The landlords have a parasitic relationship to the city and university. Sadly, the home we worked over a dozen years to restore is now a rental dump, as are those of two former neighbors.”
As a Clough Street resident observed, we’ve all seen what over-occupancy and student rentals have done to the once-lovely neighborhoods of the east side. Many blocks have been entirely abandoned by homeowners due to public drunkenness, vandalism, noise and litter. Is that same unstoppable tide now coming to Grove and Fairview, Buttonwood and Maple, Gorrell and Eberly? This is not about a once-yearly musical event, or a brewery next door to a day care center. It’s about the transformation of quiet residential streets that people have loved for generations.
Our city council could stop this tide if they would stop praying at the altar of New Urbanism and represent their constituents. In the words of another commenter, “You have a jewel here — is your jewel for sale or are you going to keep it?