Roommates Ordinance at center of Debate Yet Again - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

5/6/03

Roommates Ordinance at center of Debate Yet Again

This is one of those issues everyone in Lubbock has an opinion about. Tech students, families, landlords and city leaders have been butting heads on the roommate issue for years. But now, all of them sat across the table from one another and cordially talked it out, instead of duking it out, as they sometimes have in the past.

The city ordinance prohibits more than two unrelated people from living in the same house. Families say it gives neighborhoods peace and quiet, and protects property values. But, students say it makes rent more expensive.

Always at the center of controversy, the debate reached its most colorful pitch two summers ago. That's when a landlord painted his Tech Terrace rental house the color purple because the city evicted the three Tech students living there.The roommates fought the issue and even started a petition, but in the end, the ordinance stayed the same.

Now, the Texas Tech student Senate is pushing the issue again, but with a much softer tone. "We're not here to protest. We're not trying to fight this. We're just trying to work together for the first time on this issue," says Tech student Sarah Floerke.

Here's what the students propose this time around. The establishment of an 'agency'. Rental property owners and tenants could then apply for an exemption with the agency. They would sign some sort of contract agreeing to keep neighborhood nuisances like parties and vehicles to a minimum. If they breached the contract, they would be subject to stiff consequences. Consequences still to be determined.

The proposal drew both praise and criticism, and will be discussed at future meetings.

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