BY Citlalli Godinez
If you are a Sacred Heart student worried about not being able to find off-campus housing for the upcoming school year or semester, this news is for you.
Previously, Bridgeport’s Mayor Joe Ganim and City Council members announced an attempt to reduce the number of unrelated people living in one household from the maximum of four down to three.
The zoning change was implied for all residents but some felt it was aimed specifically toward Sacred Heart students. At times, local residents made complaints on how students have overrun their neighborhood.
Students were able to vote to have their voices heard on whether or not the proposal should be forwarded to the Planning and Zoning Commission.
“PioneerVote has an extremely important presence on campus. Many universities stress the importance of being politically active, but unfortunately do not provide tools to help their students be able to do so. Without PioneerVote, Sacred Heart would never have gotten nearly 1,000 students registered to vote, and I think that alone shows its importance,” said senior Meridith Kennedy.
Some students said they did not see a problem with large numbers of students living together.
“I do not find it important to limit the amount of students as the SHU dorms can have up to 12 students living in one suite so having four or five people doesn’t sound like an issue to me. Also, having more people living in a house lowers the cost of rent which is beneficial to college students,” said junior Danielle Koster.
According to ctpost.com, “While the zoning change would have affected the entire city, it was a response to North End residents’ complaints about student attending Sacred Heart University in nearby Fairfield. Homeowners complained the young men and women have overrun their neighborhood, hold loud parties, litter, and use up curbside parking spaces.”
Many students say they take their neighbors into consideration.
“My housemates and I are always conscious of not making too much noise at night and we try to limit the amount of people who come over at the same time to not crowd the road with cars,” said Koster.
In the Oct. 23 issue of Spectrum, contributing writer Neil Grasso reported, “Many students at Sacred Heart choose to reside in the North End of Bridgeport for its close proximity to campus.”
Some students enjoy living off campus and don’t have issues with their neighbors.
“If I didn’t have to use the shuttle, I would have considered staying on campus. I am currently one of the many students living in the North End of Bridgeport and personally, I love it. I’m close to campus and my neighbors are friendly,” said junior Kayla Santos.
Juniors and seniors are typically the classes that try to find housing off campus.
“Luckily, I did not face any difficulties in finding housing as a junior or a senior. However, when I was a junior, I lived in the Park Ridge townhouses, so when I saw the news report of a resident on Geduldig complaining about the students, I took it personally. When I lived on Geduldig, I was very respectful of the permanent residents. I never witnessed any Sacred Heart students acting out in the ways described. I now live in a house with four other girls in Fairfield and we have yet to have any issues,” said Kennedy.
Ctpost.com reported that the North End Councilwomen Michelle Lyons added that passing any new zoning regulations would take months.
“I’m glad the ordinance was dropped because as a rising senior, I will be looking for housing and the North End would be the place I would look because of how close it is to campus,” said junior Jenna Wilson.
“My suitemates and I will most likely try to renew our lease for our senior year and having the ordinance dropped is good news for us,” said Santos.