IF YOU RENT to Temple students in Yorktown, be sure to brush up on your beer-pong skills.
In a decision filed Jan. 4, Commonwealth Court upheld a 2010 Common Pleas decision that a special zoning ordinance requiring landlords to live with their student residents in Yorktown homes is constitutional.
The decision effectively maintains a ban on renting to groups of Temple students in the neighborhood just south of the North Philly campus. The ordinance, which was adopted in 2004 but which neighbors say was not enforced, was intended to maintain the "quality of life" for the families living there. Issues like parking shortages and increased traffic were the main reasons cited.
" is constitutional and legal, and we had appropriate reasons for doing it," said Andrew Ross, chief deputy solicitor and the lawyer representing the city.
"We're ecstatic," Pamela Pendleton-Smith, president of the Resolute Alliance in Yorktown, said yesterday. "For the first time, the long dollar, or the deep pockets, did not win out."
SFH Properties LLC first filed suit in 2009, saying that the ordinance was unconstitutional because it treated students differently from other tenants. It also claimed that the properties would have met the definition as single-family houses, which are exempted from the ordinance, if they were limited to three students.
Ross said that limit would work in other parts of the city, but not in Yorktown because of the law. "If you own the house, you can't rent to students if you don't also live in the house, whether it's only one or two or three students," he said.
Ross said the city will enforce the law and issue citations to landlords if necessary, relying on neighbors to complain to the city.
- Staff writer Valerie Russ