Notre Dame student housing proposal off to shaky start

Residents of South Bend’s North East Neighborhood today fought a proposal to bring high density student rental properties to the area.

A requested zoning change that dealt with five houses on the likes of Talbot, Miner, and Bissell Streets would have allowed up to a half dozen students to live in a single dwelling.

“Student housing is a very important portion of a very important part of our local economy, so it’s not really the issue here, through the issue is more the intensity and the density of the student housing that’s taking place in this neighborhood,” said St. Joseph County Commissioner Andy Kostielney. “We’ve made a very concerted effort here locally to move more high dense student housing closer to campus where it’s more appropriate.”

Some prefer that homes in the neighborhood south of the Notre Dame campus be reserved for families, and right now, that doesn’t seem like such a pie in the sky idea.

Just south of Eddy Street Commons, 38 new single family homes are being built, or have already been completed in the Triangle Neighborhood.

Today, the desire to keep that momentum going ran head on into the request to allow multi-tenant student housing at the five homes in question.

“He (developer Cosimo Bumbaca) conducted his own survey there on Talbot Street for example, and 80 percent of the homes there on Talbot Street are student housing,” said attorney Frank Agostino. “If you look at the properties within 300 feet, you’ll see that the vast majority of those houses are non-owner occupied.”

Nonetheless, regulators on the St. Joseph County Area Plan Commission today rejected all five requested rezonings, and unanimously gave them an unfavorable recommendation.

The request now goes on to the South Bend Common Council which has the final say.

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