UK Student Task Force Report Controversy

UK Student Task Force Report Controversy

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Letter to the Editor

The Student Housing Task Force committee comprises the following Council Members:

Blues, Gray, Ellinger, Lawless, Beard, Feigel, Stinnett and McChord.

Linda Gorton Chairs.

This report is 29 pages long with 160-odd pages of appendices. It has been approximately two years in the making and was spawned by the H1 debacle that took place in the Columbia Heights/Hollywood Mt. Vernon neighborhoods resulting in a mayoral appointed task force to study the problems.

A similar report during Mayor Pam Miller’s tenure was prepared to address the same issues in 1999 and was 14 pages in length.

Several of the Planning Committee members were also on this Student Housing Task Force: Gorton, Feigel, Lawless and Gray.

This report addresses the issues that pertain to student density in residential areas close to UK campus. It does not address inappropriate development
of properties.

There are two separate dialogues taking place right now.

a) The Student Housing Task Force’s recommendations (licensing, inspections of homes for safety etc) and, b) a Building Moratorium that
would be a stop gap measure put in place to freeze any possible building frenzy whilst solutions to these campus neighborhood issues are being sought.

It also would seem to be timely to mention that Council Member Feigel is a rental property owner in the Columbia Heights neighborhood.

Photos of her property are attached.

Unbeknownst to me I used her property as an example of a “student stuffer”/“vinyl box” in my recent slide presentation to Council.

It is in fact a duplex (although the Oldham extension is not listed on PVA as an address) at 545 Columbia Avenue.

Council member Feigel transferred the deed to her husband a couple of years ago. There is also a letter from Feigel to Dr. Stevens (5th District Representative at the time) on written page 30 of the appendices to the Student Housing Task Force report.

– Kate Savage

What are you rebelling against?
Report from Tuesday Council Work Session

It was a contentious day at LFUCG on Tuesday September 22 when the Planning Committee met to hear the findings of the Student Housing Task Force Committee.

UK students marched on City Hall to protest. Council Chambers filled and the overflow was sent to the Ballroom downstairs.

Committee Chair Mike Meuser summarized the report for the Committee.

L o n g t i m e Columbia Heights Neighborhood property owner Janet Cowen reiterated, “I am the history … we’re not opposed to students [but] UK needs to step up. They kicked drinking off campus and put it in our neighborhoods. With the nosmoking issue coming up, we don’t want to become an ashtray either.”

Westwood Court property owner (and GTV3 series regular) Steve Olshewsky called the plan “wack” and told the Task Force they’re “dreaming.”

UAHA attorney Richard Murphy said “Landlords are not parents. Landlords and not bosses. Landlords are not the University of Kentucky.”

Students and attorneys present invoked the words “discrimination” and “prejudice” repeatedly.

Joe Howard, attorney for the Greater Lexington Apartment Association said, “if we all stood up and jumped off all the ordinances Council passed, we would break our legs.”

Todd Sills (of Sills Brothers — brother Dennis yielded his time) characterized his business as “a family of carpenters” and used the word “outrage” liberally, saying “you don’t have to be a protected class in order for prejudice against you to be ugly.”

The next meeting is scheduled for October 5 at 1pm in Council Chambers. Letters to the editor for the Oct 1 issue should reference UK/LFUCG in the
subject line.