A new apartment building in Richmond could soon accept new tenants. Unless, you're a VCU student.
A developer wants to transform a vacant, Oregon Hill building into twelve luxury apartments. However, VCU students wouldn't be allowed to rent there unless they're married or a veteran.
The move is a strategic one by the developer, Guy Blundon, to win the favor of the Oregon Hill Neighborhood Association.
Todd Woodson is the association's treasurer. He admits it took awhile for the association to be so welcoming of more density in the neighborhood.
Blundon first reduced the number of apartments in the building. He also designated eight parking spots. Lastly, Blundon promised VCU students wouldn't be allowed to rent there.
"We feel it is the best interest of a sustainable community to welcome families in," said Woodson.
Woodson says students bring noise, trash and vandalism.
Ali Farouk with Housing Opportunities Made Equal or H.O.M.E. says, the move is legal but isn't fair.
"A lot of these issues are based on bias," said Farouk. "It's hard enough to be a student now. A lot of students face a lot of issues dealing with debt and things like that. So having to struggle to find housing isn't really fair either."
Both federal and state laws don't protect college students from housing discrimination.
The Richmond City Planning Commission approved a special permit for the apartment building Monday night but it doesn't control what tenants a developer wants or doesn't want. Plans for the building still need to be approved by City Council.
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