Fed up with problems in the neighborhood around Temple University, City Councilman Darrell L. Clarke introduced legislation Thursday that would ban virtually all new student housing near the school's North Philadelphia campus.
"The students seem to have a mind-set that they can do whatever they want," Clarke said. "It's out of control."
His constituents complain that their neighborhood often resembles Animal House, the classic comedy about fraternity members running amok. Temple students often have loud parties late into the night, urinate in public, and leave trash willy-nilly on streets, Clarke said.
The bill immediately drew fire from area real estate developers, who argue that while there are problems, new housing has mostly improved the neighborhood.
Peter Crawford and Herb Reid 3d, who have both developed housing for Temple students recently, said the new and rehabbed units have replaced vacant properties and empty lots, and pushed some drug use out of the neighborhood.
"To say development has to stop just because there are some growing pains, I think, is using a butcher knife when a scalpel is needed," Crawford said.
Clarke's bill would affect an area bounded roughly by North 19th and Ninth Streets and Girard and Lehigh Avenues.
It would ban new development of multiple-family dwellings, apartment houses, tenement houses, student housing that is not owner-occupied, and fraternity and sorority houses.
Crawford, Reid, and other developers think a better solution would be to create a neighborhood improvement district. Landlords and other business people would pay fees to the district, which could then be spent on extra security and cleaning crews. Clarke backs that idea as well.
Temple University spokesman Ray Betzner said the school had no opinion on Clarke's proposal because it applies to private property. But he said Temple was working to improve and monitor student behavior and acts quickly to punish those who create problems for the neighborhood.
"Temple University expects its students to be good residents of the city of Philadelphia," Betzner said.
Of the more than 30,000 people who attend Temple, about 5,000 live on campus. An additional 6,000 to 7,000 live in nearby neighborhoods, and the remainder commute.
In other action Thursday, Councilman James F. Kenney proposed a bill that would limit the amount of personal information, such as cellphone numbers, names of insurance companies, and addresses available on police accident reports.
Kenney said he thinks the law will help curb insurance fraud. Some people buy such reports in bulk, he said, and use information from them to commit fraud.
Also, Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown introduced a bill to lower the curfew for young people. She brought the bill on behalf of Mayor Nutter, who has pushed for curfews as a way to keep marauding youths off the streets.
Under the proposal, when school is in session, children 13 and younger would have to be off the streets by 8 p.m.; the 14- and 15-year olds by 9 p.m.; and 16- and 17-year-olds by 10 p.m. In the summer, each age group would be given an extra hour.