By Som Lisaius,
TUCSON, AZ (KOLD) - For some university-area residents, out-of-state plates on expensive sports cars is a sign of one thing: college students moving in and potentially, compromising the quality of life in their neighborhoods.
"When you get large groups of them together and especially a lot of mini-dorms on the same street, then there's parties, there's noise, and there's trash in the streets."
That's Jefferson Park resident Joan Hall who knows that isn't always the case. She even points out students across the street who've never caused any problems.
It's the style of housing in Jefferson Park that Hall is more concerned about: multi-unit complexes that even non-residents here are pretty familiar with.
"There's places where seven, eight, college kids live," says an elderly woman visiting Jefferson Park, who asked to remain anonymous. "In a house or a dorm or whatever in this neighborhood."
Which is why residents in Jefferson Park are meeting with Tucson City leaders in an effort to at least limit mini-dorm housing.
Over the last nine months, their Neighborhood Preservation campaign has come up with a working plan that would place restrictions on new developments. But it remains to be seen how stringent the plan will be, considering the demand for student housing.
"Every time we've taken a step on this issue, we've looked at both sides of the coin," says Tucson City Council member Karen Uhlich, who represents Jefferson Park as part of Tucson's Ward III.
Though at this point, Jefferson Park residents say restrictions of any kind would be progress.
"They've listened to us, but they've also listened to the developers," says Joan Hall, who also serves on the Jefferson Park Neighborhood Advisory Committee. "We're not sure how much support we're going to get from the city, although we're very hopeful."
"We're trying to do both things," Uhlich says, diplomatically. "Preserve the quality of life in the neighborhood interior and at the same time welcome and inspire greater density where it's appropriate."
Jefferson Park residents and city staff have come up with a working Jefferson Park Neighborhood Design Manual that could someday dictate new housing in the community. At this point, it's only a document in progress.
Wednesday night, Tucson officials and Jefferson Park residents are sitting down trying to hash some of these things out.
If all goes as planned, Tucson mayor and council could formally adopt a development plan of some kind for Jefferson Park early next year.
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