Council approves new limits on 'stealth dorms'

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by KRIS BETTS / KVUE News and JESSICA VESS / KVUE News

khou.com

Posted on February 14, 2014 at 6:28 PM

AUSTIN -- The Austin City Council early Friday morning approved a crackdown on so-called "stealth dorms." The measure limits how many unrelated people can live together under one roof.

The change will likely have the greatest impact on student housing. Many University of Texas students turn to housing options outside university dorms. It's not uncommon to see many group together to share rent on a house or duplex.

Current city ordinance limits the number of unrelated people who can live together in a single home to six. The changes council members approved would take that limit even further -- to four.

Residents in neighborhoods near the University of Texas generally support the move. They say the so-called stealth dorms lead to problems such as overflowing garbage cans, noise and clogged street parking. Many have sent in complaints and say the problem is growing.

Developers have replaced dozens of small houses with larger ones that can accommodate several roommates. The "Stop Stealth Dorms" coalition estimates there are around 400 stealth dorms surrounding UT.

According to staff recommendations those homes that already exist would be exempt from the new limitations. Group homes and family homes would also be exempt.

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