City Of Newark Wants Your Thoughts On Amended Zoning, Increased Downtown Development, Affordable Housing, More

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The City of Newark is looking for feedback on a number of issues regarding rental housing.

The Rental Housing Workgroup was approved by City Council to examine the issues related to the high demand for student housing due to student growth, the management of rental housing, and to address the need for non-student rental housing as well as affordable rental housing.

The Workgroup has been meeting since April 2019 to develop recommendations for Council consideration on these issues. The Workgroup has developed a draft list of recommendations (Rental Housing Workgroup Background and Recommendations), and would like your feedback before they are presented to Council at a public meeting scheduled for October 28, 2019 for Council feedback and public input.

Take the survey here

Some of the recommendations of the group include the following:

Do you support the following University of Delaware Student Growth Subcommittee recommendations?

  • Institute a community relations campaign to help students living off-campus to understand expectations and common courtesies as a community member in the City of Newark.
  • Do you support the following University of Delaware Student Growth Subcommittee recommendation?
  • UD to improve available data about student enrollment numbers and students living off-campus via a voluntary student survey.
  • Improve the process to disseminate information about available rental housing opportunities with more concise, aggregated information (“one-stop-shop”) for people seeking rental housing.
  • Improve the ability for the general public to find out information regarding rental property ownership.

Do you support the following Rental Permits Subcommittee recommendations?

  • Improve the rental inspection program to include: a safety marketing/educational component; promote voluntary interior inspections; develop a “what to expect” document to explain inspection purpose/process, and provide a publicly available list of properties that have been interior-inspected.
  • Reassess the 20-year-old Student Home ordinance (which regulates permits for single-family homes occupied by more than two college students, outside of Newark’s central core) to determine its current effectiveness.
  • Also related to the Student Home ordinance – replace the word “student” with “unrelated persons” since the definition of student in the ordinance is broad, and cannot be confirmed by tenants or the University.
  • Also related to the Student Home ordinance – increase allowable occupancy in homes on exempt streets to be based not on a specific “allowable number of unrelated individuals,” but rather based on a home’s square footage and number of bedrooms.
  • Expand Property Maintenance Code section 404.8.3.D to include all civil violations from the Unruly Social Gathering Ordinance in addition to noise (underage drinking, littering, fights, etc.)
  • Improve policy on enforcement of repeat property owner/landlord offenders to include penalization and escalating fines.
  • Consider reducing rental permit late fees from 25% to around 5%, like other City permit late fees.
  • Consolidate bills and inspections for owners of more than 1 rental property.

Do you support the following Non-Student and Affordable Housing Subcommittee recommendations?

  • Amend zoning code to include an inclusionary zoning ordinance requiring new housing development to include some affordable housing measures for rental housing such as percentage of units made affordable, fee-in-lieu, and density bonuses.
  • Amend zoning codes to allow Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) at single-family, owner-occupied homes with parameters such as limited number of tenants, tenants must be non-transient, attached or detatched, architectural guidelines, etc.
  • Amend zoning codes to allow Duplex or Semi-Detached housing in areas with single-family zoning. Incorporate architectural guidelines that ensure the building setbacks, parking, height, and mass are complementary to the surrounding neighborhood.
  • Develop a program to support transitioning rental units into owner-occupied homes through an incentive program.
  • Identify additional federal, state, and private funding sources for affordable renter and homeownership programs.
  • Officials to improve safety and increase neighborhood appeal for non-student renters through increased civic engagement and events.
  • Increase development density within the downtown core to allow more mixed-use, commercial, and housing development (including student and non-student housing and amenities) in areas within close proximity to the University. Implement the proposed zoning density increases within Newark’s Focus Areas to allow more infill development of higher density development.
Take the survey here

The Workgroup will be reviewing the feedback from this survey and incorporating it into the presentation to Council at the 10/28/19 meeting. After the 10/28/19 Council meeting, the Workgroup will reconvene and review the Council and public feedback and refine their recommendations in anticipation of a final presentation to Council at a later date.

 


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First State Update's Delaware editorial team covers New Castle County, Kent County and Sussex County breaking news, political news, and general news stories. We bring the reader the latest news from the Wilmington, Newark, Dover, Rehoboth Beach and all point in between. If you have news to share, email us at desk@firststateupdate.com.

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