San Diego

Judge Strikes Down Proposed Mini-Dorm Ordinance in College Area

A superior court judge struck down an ordinance to stop so-called mini-dorms in the College Area near San Diego State University Friday, saying it discriminates against a small group in the community.

The San Diego City Council had voted in November 2016 to end the development of mini-dorms in the College Area.

In June 2017, a San Diego Superior Court issued a temporary injunction preventing the city from enforcing two ordinances regulating mini-dorms around SDSU--the 2017 Ordinance passed in February by the city council and RHOP, passed in 2008.

Under the ordinances, if there are five or more people over the age of 18 living in a single-family house, the landlord pays $1,000 to get a parking permit. That permit requires off-street parking for everyone in the house, except one. If someone does not own a car, the landlord has to prove it. According to the ordinances, the off-street parking cannot be within 30 feet of the property line.

Friday, Judge Ronald Styn decided the Residential High Occupancy Permit (RHOP) Ordinance is unconstitutional and that the city of San Diego cannot enforce RHOP or any parking ordinances in the neighborhood.

But the decision on the highly debated issue received a mixed response from residents--some homeowners who breathed a sigh of relief and others who were frustrated.

Some residents argued the presence of mini-dorms in the neighborhood affects their daily lives.

"It's was kind of incremental getting into this expansive mini-dorm area," said resident Paul Hillery.

He has owned his home in the area for 29 years but now he's thinking of selling it because of the changes to the neighborhood.

"Kids come running through our backyard and it was like, 'What the heck is going on?'" Hillery said.

But Steven McKinley, an attorney who represented the landlords for mini-dorms and students, said the ordinance targeted students.

"The students at California State University are in vulnerable position. They need to get affordable housing close to school that they can enjoy the benefits of college education and benefits of college atmosphere," McKinely said.

McKinely told NBC 7, there is a chance the city of San Diego could take this to the court of appeals. But if that happens, McKinley said they are prepared because they actually had a similar situation regarding mini-dorms in1996.

That case was taken to the court of appeals by the city but the ordinance was voided.

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