Narragansett mulls restricting rental options for college students

South County

NARRAGANSETT, R.I. (WPRI) ─ The town of Narragansett is taking steps to limit rental options for college students.

Earlier this month, the Narragansett Town Council unanimously voted in favor of a proposal that would only allow three college students to live in a single-family residence at a time.

University of Rhode Island students are known to rent property in Narragansett, since the college is located in nearby South Kingstown.

The Narragansett Planning Board is set to consider the proposal Wednesday night. The debate now, according to Councilman Jesse Pugh, is whether to limit the number of students to three or four.

“I am going to support either, so if it turns out the rest of the council wants to do three, I will still support that, however, I am leaning more towards four at this point,” Pugh said.

The proposed ordinance is modeled after a similar one in Providence which also limits the number of students living in single-family residences.

Pugh said the ordinance is needed to help the families in town.

“We have an issue in town, with declining demographics, when it comes to families in town,” he explained. “So there is just a very finite amount of real estate available and the home prices are high. So I support it to free up some inventory for families, but not to punish college kids or to blame them for anything.”

Sunrise Properties offer rentals and manage several properties in Narragansett. The company tells Eyewitness News that during the academic year, 85% of their rentals are to students, and this ordinance would have a huge impact.

“We feel this was pushed through with very limited public input and input from business input, real estate agents and property owners,” Kara Churas of Sunrise Properties said. “The enforcement of it has not been well thought through or planned. We’re really concerned this coming together so quickly is going to drive the student rental process underground.”

“This town has always has a vibrant rental history,” Heather Kelley of Sunrise Properties added. “It is part of the economic viability for the town and the restaurants to stay open all year long. There’s a lot of positive to the students being here that get overlooked quite often.”

Pugh said if the Narragansett Planing Board has no issues and the ordinance moves forward, it would not affect the upcoming academic year’s leases.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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