The Daily Aztec

Dorms are fun, but respect your neighbors

by Hannah Willis, Staff Columnist

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If you’re a student who lives in or near the College Area, you’re probably aware of the prevalent issue of mini-dorms.

The dilemma often associated with mini-dorms is the increase in parties, disruptive behavior and overall noise level within the (once-quiet) neighborhood.

Residents say mini-dorms are notorious for bringing “parking problems, excessive trash,” and “downgraded aesthetics, partly because mini-dorm operators pave over yards to create additional parking spots.”

From a student’s perspective, mini-dorms are enticing because of their close proximity to campus, as well as the appealing opportunity to live with friends and away from San Diego State supervision.

On-campus dormitories and apartments are much smaller and don’t offer the luxuries typical of houses, such as a private parking space or private backyard.

Also, on-campus apartments don’t allow pets, except fish — which is one reason why a student might choose to live in a mini-dorm as opposed to an on-campus apartment.

According to the San Diego Union-Tribune’s David Garrick, there are 813 mini-dorms in the College Area, with 135 of them constructed within the last three years.

This is because mini-dorms offer large incentives to homeowners in search of renting out their property or properties.

By increasing the amount of individuals per home, the broker and homeowner are able to charge more and thus make more money as opposed to leasing the house out to a single family.

“(UC San Diego) isn’t as vulnerable to the chronic and worsening mini dorm problem experienced near San Diego State,” Garrick wrote in his article, “UCSD minidorm problem much smaller than SDSU.”

“UCSD has more on-campus housing and the university is surrounded mostly by upscale condos and apartments instead of single-family houses,” he wrote.

The limited availability in houses makes it less likely that it’ll be converted into a mini-dorm.

Another reason why the mini-dorm problem is worsening around the SDSU area, as opposed to the UCSD area, is that UCSD has a “less vibrant and cohesive social atmosphere than SDSU, which was frequently listed as one of the nation’s top ‘party’ schools in the 1980s and 1990s,” Garrick wrote.

In an effort to reduce single-family homes from being converted into mini-dorms, city officials have implemented the Rooming House Law, which is an “annual $1,000 fee for any house or apartment with six or more adult occupants” as well as “mandating any off-street parking spaces for all adult tenants but one.”

Garrick’s article also discusses the punishment for a loud party complaint.

“The $1,000 fines for loud parties is enforced per resident, so if five students live in a house hosting a party then the total fine is $5,000,” he wrote.

These penalties are outrageous for college students who are usually already in a financial frenzy with student loans, tuition fees and housing expenses.

I believe students should be able to decide where to live, whether it be on or off campus.

On the other hand, I also believe students should be respectful and courteous of other neighbors in the community by keeping the noise level to a minimum.

By cooperating together, we can fix this problem.

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