The Orono Town Council last week set Oct. 20 as the date when public input an be offered on a proposed student housing moratorium.

The possibility of a moratorium arose this summer, when the committee updating the comprehensive plan identified the need for a better balance between student rentals and continued home ownership opportunities in established neighborhoods. The committee recommended defining “student homes” as a specific type of land use and limiting their number in zoning districts primarily designed for single- and two-family homes.

It was recommended that the council consider a moratorium on any new student homes in several zones. Those would include Medium Density Residential, Low Density Residential, Shoreland Limited Residential, and possibly the Forestry and Agriculture District. Should the council decide to go with a moratorium, it would be in place for six months, with the possibility of it being extended if needed.

The proposed definition of “student homes” and information on the proposed moratorium are available on the Town’s Planning Department web

Initial comments on the possibility of a moratorium and limiting student housing in the future have been mixed. Some residents have maintained allowing student housing everywhere, particularly in quiet residential neighborhoods, impacts quality of life; other residents have said they see nothing wrong, and that there should be no moratorium.

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