Students in violation of 3-person rule accept responsibility
February 20, 2007
A College student cited for violating Williamsburg’s “three-person rule” told The Flat Hat Thursday that he regretted the city’s decision but appreciated the handling of the case.
p. The student, who asked that his name and address be kept anonymous, was one of six living in an off-campus home this year. On Jan. 31, the City of Williamsburg informed him that their living situation was unacceptable.
p. “The city just taped six letters with all the people who live on our house to the door and mailed us a letter. It outlined the law and said we were in violation of it, but said we’ll still let you live here,” he said.
p. The students were informed of their violation of the law and asked to sign an agreement promising future compliance with the law.
p. “It was a 2-page thing; it said you’re in violation of [the law],” the student said. “According to the law, we should kick you out, but we’re not going to. After May there shouldn’t be six people living in this house,” he said when asked what the City said in the letter.
p. According to the student, a junior at the College, the residents of the home will be allowed to stay in their current living arrangements until the end of the semester. In addition, the city’s settlement agreement waives the $3,000 per resident fine that would normally accompany the citation for their offense.
p. While he will not be allowed to live in the house for his senior year, the student noted that things could be much worse. “We knew we were breaking the law. I feel like we kind of got off the hook,” he said.
p. “I don’t like the law, but on a personal note, I’m glad we get to stay in our house. It was a pretty reasonable thing,” he added.
In addition, the student said that the agreement did not alter his plans for the 2007-2008 academic year. “Most of the people in our house are seniors, just me and this other junior. We weren’t planning on living there next year anyway,” he said. “We’re planning on living on-campus.”
p. In all, thirty-eight students were affected by the late January crackdown on violators of the three-person rule. The rule, part of the city’s zoning code, limits the number of unrelated residents in a dwelling at three persons.
p. In an interview last week, Williamsburg Zoning Administrator Rod Rhodes said that the city’s actions were not meant hurt student violators. “We’re not out to punish these students; I think that’s rather obvious,” he said.
p. The affected College junior seemed to agree. “It’s just kind of a bummer to get kicked out,” he said.
p. The city cited 38 students in six houses as being in violation of the three-person rule. Four students at 9 Canterbury Lane, six students at 100 Chandler Court, six students at 126 Braxton Court, 5 students at 349 Scotland Street, seven students at 203 Rolfe Road and 10 students at 219 Harrison Avenue were cited.
The students living at 9 Canterbury Lane and 349 Scotland Street provided information to the city that they now only have three people living in their houses, and the city is no longer pursing the matter, Zoning Administrator for the City of Williamsburg Rod Rhodes said.
p. Sophia Serghi, a professor of music at the College and owner of the house at 203 Rolfe Road said that she and the seven female students iving in her house have signed the agreement.
Rhodes was not available to comment on the total number of tenants and owners who have signed the agreement so far.