Carbondale is a college town and because of that it is expected that students will live just about anywhere in the city. With that, it is also noted that there are families that have lived in Carbondale for many years and the faculty and staff of the University whom opt to live in the city rather than the surrounding towns.

By Gus Bode

There are several areas occupied by a majority of families, but are immediately surrounded by students living in units originally built as family units, but are now occupied by three or four students. One such area is West Cherry Street.

The West Central Neighborhood Association proposed to the City Council that the area be rezoned in accordance with the occupancy rules of the homes. This would make the homes only available to families or two students whom are related.

Currently, the homeowners occupy the north side of the street and the south is occupied by a majority of students. The problem – there is a significant difference in the appearance of the area from one side of the street to the other, the large number of students in one unit creates parking problems and the constant annoyance of parties almost every night.

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At this point there is no clear solution to the problems voiced by owner-occupants of the area, but all parties involved need to come together to work out a solution.

Part of the problem voiced is that the zoning line runs directly through Cherry Street. Members of the association want the zoning line moved behind the houses on the north side of Cherry into the alley to make the entire block into single-family dwellings.

This, which seems like a good idea, may only cause more problems. Instead of having large numbers of students directly across the street from families, they will then be behind them, across an alley, where their presence will still be felt.

Wanting the area to be appealing to potential residents or visitors of Carbondale is great, but the persons occupying the residence are not totally at fault. Students are being blamed -as they should be in some cases- for the downward spiral of the appearance of the neighborhood when the landlords should be making sure their property is kept up to standards.

This does not excuse the students from doing their part in keeping the area beautiful. If there is a party they should make sure the area is cleaned the following day and not left in an unattractive manner. Ultimately, everyone who has a vested interest in the area should make sure the property is kept up and not run down.

If the rezoning goes into effect, the properties on the South side of Cherry will only be able to be rented to families or two people whom are related. Two unrelated persons would not be allowed to occupy the home.

The next question is then, what is the difference? If two related students can live in the homes, what makes them different from two friends? Either group of people can live in a manner the owner-occupants deem inappropriate, causing more problems.

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At this point there is no clear solution and hopefully, there will be more meetings with attendance by owner-occupants, students and landlords, because each side has a valid point and all should be heard and taken into consideration.

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