UConn’s Interfraternity Council (IFC) is working to reduce tensions with the Town of Mansfield regarding parties in residential neighborhoods by monitoring their own organizations and speaking with the council.
IFC President Ryan Cunniff said families and students naturally live different lifestyles, but that can cause a clash within neighborhoods.
“We acknowledge that we certainly play a role in the issue and, to an extent, I can understand their frustrations,” Cunniff said. “I think the issue kind of arises from the fact that we have two very different demographics living next door to each other.”
For IFC’s part, Cunniff said fraternities are trying to self-monitor and remain responsible for themselves before issues occur with neighbors or the town.
IFC started an Observe and Report Committee (O&R) recently to maintain higher standards of responsibility.
O&R includes a member from each of the twelve fraternities under IFC. O&R members attend parties and other functions that are hosted by fraternities to ensure that they are meeting IFC standards. Those standards include marking and verifying that attendees drinking alcohol are 21 or older, prohibiting common source alcohol and scheduling enough sober drivers to get the attendees home.
Keeping noise contained within the property is another expectation that IFC sets through its O&R committee.
“I think one of the biggest things is neighbors don’t like being kept up,” Cunniff said.
Cunniff also said IFC is trying to seek out service opportunities as a way to give back to Mansfield.
“Obviously, we want to reduce and hopefully eventually eliminate the instances that we have with the town being upset with us, but at the same time, show the town that we’re part of this community and we would like to contribute positively to it,” Cunniff said.
Last week, the Mansfield Planning and Zoning Commission proposed changes to its current regulations on rental housing.
Proposed changes to parking regulations would base the number of parking spots for rentals off of the number of bedrooms in the house. Previously, regulations were set at a base number of two parking spots, meaning a landlord could give two spots to a four bedroom house with three or four residents, leading to more cars parked on streets.
Hunting Lodge Road, just off campus, is particularly dense with student rentals and, in the past, has been notorious for parties. In the new proposed regulations, the town is seeking to reduce the number of rentals on the street and cluster apartment complexes near Carriage House Townhomes, buffering them from single-family homes with plots of open land. The proposed changes were brought to the table to address noise, nuisance and traffic concerns that residents have regarding Hunting Lodge Road, according to the Planning and Zoning Commission’s draft of the plans.
Cunniff said concentrating student rentals in certain areas could help alleviate some of the tension between residents and students.
“I’d like to reduce the amount of students living in residential areas and get us all in an area where it’s all student-rented,” Cunniff said. “If we continue to be neighbors, we will always have a different biological clock given that we’re in different points in our life.”
Cunniff also said fraternities within IFC are encouraged to rent houses that have previously been student rentals, to help prevent rentals spreading out to different neighborhoods.
Cunniff said the IFC will continue to attend town meetings and attempt to come to solution that would make both students and residents of Mansfield satisfied.
“We’re really trying to be part of the solution rather than the problem,” Cunniff said.
Schae Beaudoin is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. She can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.