Editorial: UConn, Mansfield need to do more to improve zoning issues

Changes in Mansfield zoning ordinances may mean new rules for off-campus residents. (File photo/The Daily Campus)

Changes in Mansfield zoning ordinances may mean new rules for off-campus residents. (File photo/The Daily Campus)

New changes to the Mansfield zoning ordinance have many students confused about what they can and can’t do in their off-campus residences.

According to reporting done by the Daily Campus last week, members of the Undergraduate Student Government (USG) and the Inter Fraternity Council (IFC) met with the Town/University Relations Committee in order to discuss changes in policy and address their concerns.

Under Mansfield zoning laws, fraternal organizations were not allowed to host off campus official fraternity gatherings at a place of residence. The new laws have updated the definition of fraternal organizations to include any UConn organization, “including social fraternities, academic fraternities, sports teams and service organizations.”

The changes were implemented over the summer, something that was a concern to many members of the IFC. Members of the IFC were worried the changes were snuck in so students wouldn’t know what was happening and that students would get in trouble without knowing what was actually happening in the bylaws.

Conflict between the UConn community and the Mansfield community over off-campus housing is nothing new. Members of the Mansfield community have issues with students hosting large parties in the neighborhoods, and for generally damaging housing areas and lowering property values. On the flipside, students feel they are being unfairly targeted for just trying to live within their means and enjoy being students. Neither the university nor the town has ever come up with a real solution.

It’s important for both sides to understand where the other is coming from and remember everyone lives in the same community. Both UConn and Mansfield need each other to survive.

Right now, both groups need to come to some kind of solution about how exactly they can coexist together. Members of the Mansfield community must stop spying on student residences and reporting every minor party to the authorities. Students need to do their part as well and make sure they control their large gatherings and they don’t spill into the community.

As on-campus housing costs continue to increase, more and more students will move into the neighborhoods surrounding UConn. This will lead to more student gatherings of all kinds. It is now up to UConn and the town of Mansfield to create a solution that doesn’t unfairly target students or make the neighborhoods unbearable for current residents.