Feb 012013


Friday, February 1, 2013

When the Greenville City Council turned its attention toward the improvement of the Tar River-university neighborhood, many in the community contended that more rigorous enforcement of existing city code would help address the problems there. It was a position endorsed by, among others, East Carolina University, which even offered to help fund an additional enforcement officer.

Undaunted, the council plowed ahead with its plans to eliminate the rule limiting to three the number of unrelated tenants living in a dwelling, claiming that it would somehow reduce the concerns about trash, parking and crime endemic to that neighborhood. It is more likely that better code enforcement will prove a more effective solution, and the city should provide the resources needed to see that done.

Listed as the last action item in the neighborhood preservation section of last year’s list of City Council goals, a review of the so-called “three-unrelated” rule sparked a lively discussion about the future of the unique neighborhood between the East Carolina University campus and the Tar River. Inhabited by a mixture of college-age renters and older homeowners, it became a flashpoint in the ongoing debate over how to best protect and manage the city’s residential areas.

Opponents to a proposal that would allow four unrelated people to occupy homes in a specific overlay district argued that what the neighborhood needed was more vigorous enforcement of existing city codes. They pointed to problems with trash in yards and on streets, the congestion of having too many vehicles for limited parking and the rate of noise and crime in that area — and contended that the city should be proactive in addressing it.

East Carolina weighed in shortly before the council’s vote, calling the existing rules sufficient and pointing to a need for additional code enforcement officers to address specific concerns in that neighborhood. University officials offered to provide half the salary for an additional officer and to take a more aggressive role in holding students accountable.

Though the council would ultimately push through the overlay district on a 4-2 vote, the university’s points remain salient. More aggressive enforcement of existing rules would improve the quality of life for homeowners and renters alike. East Carolina is pressing forward on that issue through its Office of Students Rights and Responsibilities. The city should follow suit by bolstering its enforcement efforts with the resources needed to make progress in that unique neighborhood.

via The Daily Reflector.


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