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Narragansett Coalition

Narragansett-URI Coalition Action Plan

Prepared by the Narragansett-URI Coalition
Adopted February 24, 2011

Click here to download a copy of the Action Plan

A. Introduction:

This report presents recommendations developed by the Narragansett-URI Coalition for implementation by:

  1. the Narragansett Town Government
  2. the University of Rhode Island
  3. the University of Rhode Island Student Senate
  4. the Narragansett-URI Coalition

The Narragansett-URI Coalition was formed in 2000 in response to concerns raised in the local community about increased college student alcohol use and related consequences in the Narragansett community yet desiring a cooperative relationship of mutual respect and trust between the communities of the Town of Narragansett and the University of Rhode Island.

The coalition is a group of volunteers whose mission is to jointly work together to address problems and concerns by developing strategies and activities that foster amicable co-existence. Members represent the Narragansett town government, neighborhood associations, university officials and students, realtors and businesses.

The Coalition focues on the following key areas:

  • Improving the quality of life in all neighborhoods for permanent residents and URI renters
  • Reducing underage drinking and harmful consequences of substance abuse
  • Increasing the awareness, community involvement and support of the Coalition's work

B. Recommendations:

To be implemented by the Narragansett Town Government:

Issue #1: Over the years the town of Narragansett has experienced a number of problems associated with rental housing. Examples of these problems are late night noise, trash and garbage disposal, and parking. Also, because of the town's strong rental housing market, a recent trend has developed whereby new single family homes have been built to accommodate as many as 8 unrelated persons. These 'mega' houses function more as commercial enterprises rather than single family dwelling units creating traffic and parking problems, noise and other impacts that are not compatible with areas zoned for single family residential use. Narragansett's existing ordinances are inadequate to deal with the many and diverse issues associated with rental housing.

Recommendations:

  1. Consideration be given to updating the Narragansett municipal code to include an ordinance governing rental dwelling units through actions of the town council and town management that would include the following:
    1. Maintenance of a database of all rental properties, recording, among other data, the type of rental (12 month, Sept.-May, summer) and violations
    2. Codification of rental housing requirements to include: maximum occupancy for single family dwelling units located in residential zones and the licensing of rental dwelling units.
    3. Revise the rental registration form to include: square footage of 'habitable living space, number of bedrooms and square footage, and total square footage of the house.
      See appendix for excerpts & resources of relevant ordinances from other municipalities
  2. Consider adjusting the rental registration fee.

Issue #2: Narragansett's neighborhoods experience a high level of noise and other types of nuisance-related problems on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights.

Recommendations: Provide increased police resources during peak periods targeting those neighborhoods with histories of high incidents of nuisnace violations; and apply a zero tolerance standard.

Issue #3: Narragansett's neighborhoods experience an unusually high incidence of vehicles parked on lawns resulting in a destruction of landscaping and the creation of unsightly conditions.

Recommendations:

  1. Explore the availability of grant money to assist homeowners in the creation of expanded off-street parking in residential areas.
  2. Ensure that the availability of off-street parking is consistent with the requirements of the municipal ordinance and enforce lawn parking restrictions.

To be implemented by the University of Rhode Island:

Issue #4: Orientation program for all students who plan to live off campus.

Recommendations: Invite personnel from the Narragansett and South Kingstown Town Governments to participate in the university's orientation program for students planning to live off campus.

To be implemented cooperatively by the Narragansett Town Government, the University of Rhode Island, and the University of Rhode Island Student Senate:

Issue #5: Annual 'Neighborhood Day'

Recommendations: Encourage and assist neighborhood associations to reach out to students in September with a welcome letter.

Issue #6: Town and University officials, and student leaders need to have first hand knowledge of the conditions contributing to nuisance complaints in Narragansett's neighborhoods in order to be able to make proper decisions relating to those complaints.

Recommendations: Cooperatively carry out periodic, unannounced, 'ride alongs' with Narragansett police thru Narragansett's neighborhoods to monitor neighborhood conditions. Participants in the 'ride alongs' are to be selected from the University Administration, Student Senate, Narragansett Town Council, and the Narragansett Town Administration.

Issue #7: There is a need to expand the Spring Clean-up to benefit more neighborhoods.

Recommendations: Improve publicity and colaboration for the Spring Clean-up and encourage greater participation by neighborhoods and the town of Narragansett the town of Narragansett.

To be implemented by the University of Rhode Island Student Senate:

Issue #8: Improvement of relationships between university students and permanent residents.

Recommendations:

  1. Devise methods of collaboration with the town and its residents, extending beyond the annual spring cleanup, that will foster good will and improve the quality of life in the town's neighborhoods.
  2. Serve as a positive role model for 'quality of life issues' in Narragansett neighborhoods.

To be implemented by the Narragansett-URI Coalition:

Issue #9: The need for Increased opportunities for input from students and the public to the Narragansett-URI Coalition's meetings.

Recommendations:

  1. Increase the amount of time on the Coalition's meeting agenda for public input and improve public notice of the Coalition's meetings including the opportunity for public input.
  2. Twice a year hold public meetings with speakers and a question and answer session. A fall meeting should be held in Narragansett and a spring meeting should be held at the university.
  3. Hold a meeting in August to:
    1. plan the fall meeting, and
    2. to review progress on the Coalition's Action Plan.

Appendix: Rental Housing Ordinances

Municipalities with ordinances governing maximum occupancy:

  1. Clemson, So. Carolina (www.cityofclemson.org):
    The occupancy of a residence is determined by the zoning district where it is located. In a single family district, the occupancy is normally limited to two "
    unrelated individuals or a family plus one unrelated individual.

    In R-20, R-12, RM-1, and RM-2 residential neighborhoods you can have a maximum of two unrelated individuals living in rental unless the property is grandfathered. In RM-3 the maximum limit is three unrelated individuals and in RM-4 and Commercial Districts you are allowed up to four unrelated individuals.
  2. Ames, Iowa (www.cityofames.org):
    In all single family and two-family dwellings in RL and UCRM zoning districts, the maximum occupancy of a dwelling unit will be one family (see definition of family below).

    In all single family and two-family dwellings in the RH and RM zoning districts, the maximum occupancy of a dwelling unit will be either:
    1. one family (see definition of family below); or
    2. one more person than the number of bedrooms, up to five people, provided there is one parking space per bedroom for units with two bedrooms or more, or in University Impacted areas 1.25 parking spaces per bedroom in units with two or more bedrooms, and one-bedroom units will have 1.5 parking spaces per unit.

    The Definition of Family: A person living alone or any of the following groups living together as a single nonprofit housekeeping unit and sharing common living, sleeping, cooking, and eating facilities:
    1. Any number of people related by blood, marriage, adoption, guardianship or other duly-authorized custodial relationship
    2. Three unrelated people
    3. Two unrelated people and any children related to either of them
    4. Not more than eight people who are:
      1. esidents of a "Family Home" as defined in Section 414.22 of the Iowa code; or
      2. "Handicapped" as defined in the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. section 3602 (h). This definition does not include those persons currently illegally using or addicted to a "controlled substance" as defined in the Controlled Substances Act, 21 U.S.C. Section 802 (6).
    5. No more than five people who are granted a Special Use Permit as a single.
  3. Evanston, Illinous (http://cityofevanston.org):
    Chapter 4 General Provisions, Section 6-4-1-14 of the Evanston municipal code entitled "Occupancy of Dwelling Units" states the following: "No dwelling" unit shall be occupied by more than one type (A), type (B) or type (C) family as defined in Chapter 18, Definitions, of this ordinance. Chapter 18 - Definitions, Section 6-18-3 defines families for purposes of determining maximum occupancy as follows:
    1. Type A Family: One or more persons related by blood, marriage, or adoption living together as a single housekeeping unit in a dwelling unit
    2. Type B Family: Two (2) unrelated persons and their children living together as a single housekeeping unit in a dwelling unit.
    3. Type C Family: A group of not more than three (3) unrelated persons living together as a single household keeping unit in a dwelling unit.
  4. Bloomington, Indiana (http://bloomington.in.gov):
    The City of Bloomington, Indiana established a residential rental property registration and inspection program in the early 1970's. The program is administered by the City of Bloomington Housing and Neighborhood Development Department. Rental occupancy permits are required and state the maximum occupancy load for the individual rental unit(s). The entire city is governed by a zoning ordinance that dictates the type of land use (single vs. multi-family, commercial vs. residential) that are allowed. Typically in residential single-family zones, the maximum allowable occupancy is as follows:
    1. A single family
    2. Three (3) unrelated adults
  5. Oxford, Ohio (www.cityofoxford.org):
    In accordance with the Oxford municipal code, the maximum number of unrelated occupants per dwelling unit is four (4).


Municipality with ordinance governing licensing of rental housing units:

Montgomery County, Maryland (www.montgomerycountymd.gov/code):

Chapter 29 "Landlord-Tenant Relations", Article III "Licensing of Rental Housing" of the municipal code of Montgomery County, MD states the following in regard to the licensing of rental dwelling units:

  1. Section 29-16. Required: The owner of a dwelling unit must obtain a rental housing license before operating the dwelling unit as rental housing.
  2. Section 29-20 Fees: The County Executive must establish an annual license fee per dwelling unit for each class of rental housing license by regulation... in an amount sufficient to pay the costs of administering this Chapter.
  3. Section 29-23. License terms and renewal: Each license must be issued for a term of one year, renewable for additional one-year terms, subject to payment of the license fee and compliance with all applicable laws.
  4. Section 29-25. Denial, revocation or suspension: The Director may revoke, deny, or suspend a license for all or part of any rental housing at any time if the landlord, after 10 days written notice, does not eliminate or initiate bona fide efforts to eliminate violations of applicable laws. Revocation, denial or suspension of a license is in addition to, and not a substitute for, any other penalties provided for the violations.