Student Housing: Student housing solutions sought off campus

By Austin Enns for Kansas Stage Collegian

Recently K-State has been dealing with a housing problem by keeping students in overflow housing in Jardine and the Clarion hotel. But, as the population at K-State continues to increase, other housing options like apartments are being built to take advantage of the growing population.

K-State needs to keep outside developers in mind when thinking about the future, said Derek Jackson, associate director of housing and dining services for administrative services and residence life.

“The university and the city have to work together as we look at on- and off-campus demand,” Jackson said. “We are not the exclusive player, and there are other developers that affect the campus housing pressure.”

Brian Elsey, local builder for Elsey Partners, said that in 2001, the city passed new guidelines that up-zoned the 22-block area on the east side of campus. The change of the area to a “multi-family redevelopment district” allowed for the building of new apartment housing.

Now, however, the city commission has made new guidelines for the type of apartment complexes that will be built there.

James Sherow, mayor pro tem, said the area is still meant to be for students; builders just have to have more parking per resident than in the past, as well as observing new cosmetic rules for the apartments.

“The intention in that one area, just to the east of the university, is much denser housing in proximity to the university, so it will take pressure off the streets and provide safe and affordable housing,” Sherow said.

Manhattan’s plans are for apartment housing right by campus so that students can walk to class, and also so students coming home from Aggieville have a short walk.

Loren Peppard, city commissioner, was one of the two Manhattan commissioners who voted against the new rules, which passed 3-2, and he said the new regulations restrict housing.

“Once these proposals come as a proposal everything is frozen, so people in the process can’t build anything because of these proposals. It shouldn’t freeze everything up and stop all work,” Peppard said. “An owner who has already gone to boards and got it approved, a new zoning restriction stops them ‘til it is built.”

The owner he is referring to, Brian Elsey, is trying to build in the 900 block of Moro Street, and Elsey mentioned that the new guidelines decreased the number of bedrooms in his planned apartment complex by half.

Brian said the restrictions will cause builders to move their complexes farther away from campus so that students have to drive.

Sherow contested those claims, and said that the city needs confirmation that the infrastructure can handle an apartment complex.

“We don’t know if the sewer can handle it, but it is undergoing review from an engineering firm, and we can’t know until the review is completed,” Sherow said.

Another point Sherow mentioned is the new complex would now have to go through planned urban development in order to be built, but the review is the first step.

Elsey said the infrastructure costs would occur wherever the complex was built, and that apartment complexes are taxed enough that it would make up for the infrastructure costs.


Be Sociable, Share!
Leave a Reply