TCU students could face further restrictions on off-campus housing options if the Fort Worth City Council adopts proposed changes to the definition of the term “single housekeeping unit” today.
This proposal comes months after the city voted to restrict the numbers of students who could live in rental homes to three.
The Fort Worth Zoning Commission recommended a new definition of a “single housekeeping unit” at their meeting last month, but it did not approve the four presumptions included with the new definition.
These four presumptions include:
- No keyed or deadbolt locks allowed on any interior doors
- No membership changes significantly over the course of 12 months
- One or more of the members cannot use a different address for legal registration
- Occupants cannot share the housing unit for temporary, seasonal, convenient or economic purposes
Although the Zoning Commission didn’t approve these four presumptions, this decision is subject to the City Council’s approval. The City Council does not have to accept the Zoning Commission’s recommendation.
TCU student body president Maddie Reddick spoke with city officials about campus opposition to the issue.
“Students were very upset obviously,” Reddick said. “Councilwoman Ann Zadeh contacted me saying it’s important we have a ‘single housekeeping unit’ definition to determine who is and who isn’t functioning as a family to live in homes.”
“I expressed concern to her that if this passes with the presumptions that’s great, but it can be used against students in a way,” Reddick said.
CEO of Banta Property Management and retired attorney Genna Banta said the definition of family has changed and it would be unconstitutional for the city to have a specific standard for what a “single housekeeping unit” should constitute as.
“The cultural definition of family has changed,” Banta said. “There’s gay couples, single parents—it’s not ‘Leave It To Beaver’ anymore.”
Banta lives in a neighborhood surrounding the TCU area. She said she feels TCU students add to the liveliness of the neighborhoods and should continue to have the option to live there, despite what some homeowners may feel.
“I don’t think it’s fair for people to move into an area that’s been a university forever,” she said. “It’s one of the oldest in Texas and people can’t be mad because all of a sudden there’s a party or something.”
“Students are people too and I think they have a lot of intelligence and energy and creative ideas,” Banta said. “I think they’re great neighbors.”
Banta said if the four presumptions are added to the definition, people will try to fight the decision and take it to the courts.
The Fort Worth City Council will have the final say in the new “single housekeeping unit’’ definition recently voted on by the zoning commission at its meeting later today.