Thursday, May 8, 2003

Council halts student housing project

By Gregory Korte
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Cincinnati City Council put the brakes on a student housing development near the University of Cincinnati campus Wednesday in an effort to force the university to come down harder on off-campus hooliganism.

By a 5-3 vote, the council held up the $116,000 sale of three alleyways needed for the Stratford Heights project.

The development, by the University Heights Community Urban Redevelopment Corp., would feature 14 Tudor-style buildings, house more than 600 students and incorporate 12 fraternity and sorority houses.

But neighbors say the project would simply increase the density of student housing in the neighborhood and lead to more problems. Linda Ziegler, a 30-year resident, said the city was "turning our neighborhood into a student dorm."

Not so, says UC President Joseph A. Steger. In a letter to Mayor Charlie Luken Wednesday, he said investment in privately owned, professionally managed, quality housing off-campus should "prevent student misconduct in the first place."

But he was largely silent on the issue of applying the student code of conduct to off-campus incidents, infuriating some council members.

Councilman David Crowley called the response "mealy-mouthed, timid, off-target and completely inappropriate."

Council's vote came despite a plea from Luken to approve it. He called the $45 million Stratford Heights "a wonderful project."

"The success of the city is inexorably linked to the success of the university, and vice versa," he said.

Residents and students attending a Cinco de Mayo party turned over cars, lit garbage fires and pelted police with rocks and bottles.


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