Policing College Sleepovers Was Quest Of College Heights Local
Rodger Provo tried last year to convince City Council members and zoning staff to prohibit college students from having boyfriends or girlfriends spend the night because it created parking problems in certain neighborhoods.
Clarification: Other people have complained about parking problems in the College Heights area in general and some have complained directly to Mr. Provo. That was not clear in an earlier version of this story.
A College Heights resident who has led the charge against unruly behavior of University of Mary Washington students tried last year to convince City Council members and city zoning staff to prevent students from having their boyfriends or girlfriends from sleeping over because it created parking problems.
The resident, Rodger Provo, wrote City Council, UMW's president and the director of planning and community development in November 2011 that coed sleepovers at a home on Stafford Avenue were creating parking problems for residents and he thought it was a violation of the city's zoning rules dictating the number of people who can occupy a home. In this specific case, the male student had a residence on Cowan Boulevard but he spent many nights with his girlfriend on Stafford Avenue, which Provo said created a situation in which more than four students were living in the home.
Provo is well connected in the neighborhood and residents often inform him of their concerns and complaints, that he takes to City Council. So, it is unlikely that he is the only College Heights resident who has complained about this situation on parking. Provo said in emails this month that students were violating parking restrictions and wrongfully using visitor parking passes. Provo said that the city's inability to enforce restrictions on the number of people who can live in a home is contributing to the decline of College Heights.
"I am writing to ask that the city take actions against the owners of this home to prohibit such situations which violate our zoning ordinances and other state laws," Provo wrote in November 2011. "The homes in our block are owned by a retired couple who were teachers, a VA Clinic staff person, an elderly lady taking care of her sick sister, a middle age couple and a minister and his wife. A college professor and his wife live in one home which they rent from Bill Micks and his wife. All of the homes in this block have been upgraded and are well maintained. It is not fair to us to have a Fairfax Couple who bought this house for their two daughters who attend UMW to reside to be allowed to turn it into a rental unit with two other coeds and their boyfriends."
The only City Council member who appears to have replied to Provo is Fred Howe, who is running for city mayor. Howe said he communicated with the owner of the home on Stafford Avenue and the owner told Howe he would "address the situation of the boyfriend’s vehicle with the renting tenant."
"We have noted the complaint in the permanent log for the property," Howe wrote. "The balance of the complaint with the boy friend having a residence currently on UMW campus does not fall into a zoning violation for City enforcement," Howe wrote.
In December, Fredericksburg Director of Planning and Community Development Raymond Ocel wrote back to Provo stating that the situation Provo had cited did not violate the city's occupancy codes.
"While the student may be visiting the house regularly, he maintains his own residence, a fact you have pointed out several times," Ocel wrote.
But this didn't stop Provo. He wrote back that Ocel's statement was in conflict with a previous position he held on this issue and insinuated that Ocel didn't care because he doesn't have a city residence.
Provo's email states that: "We had another male UMW student who dates one of the owner's daughters living in that home. You contacted the owner and requested they review our ordinances. The student then stopped staying in the house for extended periods of time. We have the same situation with this male UMW student who maintains an apartment on Cowan Blvd and is dating a tenant in this home. You have previously avoided this issue by saying you needed information about the student, his residence, etc. in our previous contacts about this matter. I have recently provided you that information. You do not live in the city. You do not own a home here. I think you and the manager and Mr. Howe need to review this issue relative to how the city can protect homeowners in College Heights from such abuse."
Provo wrote additional emails that stated the city should have a zero tolerance about such situations and that the university needed to address this "abuse." He asked City Council to ask city staff to create a report about the cohabitation laws in Virginia. He also wrote in an email this month that the male student who was staying at his girlfriend's home on Stafford Avenue damaged his Landcruiser bumper. He also continues to argue that the students are violating the city's zoning rules.
"Two residents of this house, one a graduate and the other a student, left their cars on the street to provide space in their small driveway for the [boyfriend's] vehicle. Not only are the students and the owner of this property continuing to violate our zoning ordinance restricting the number of residents in a home and they are also violating the intent of the parking restrictions in our block using street spaces to free space in a driveway for a car that could not park on the street during the school hours," Provo wrote.
In January, Provo demanded that "the city take the following sanctions against the UMW male student, the coeds living in the home and the parents of two of the girls who own the house:
- take appropriate action to put to a halt to these coeds using this home to provide a bedroom for them to share with their boyfriends, thus violating the restriction on the number of parties who can live in such a house
- revoke the visitor's parking passes issued to this home, since it is being abused by the UMW students and there are posted signs in this block restricting student parking in it.
City officials have not taken any action and have not tried to amend the zoning ordinances.