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City councilman addresses possible proposal to housing legislation

With Section O dividing off-campus student renters and resident homeowners in Bowling Green, Undergraduate Student Government tried to mend the rift by voting to support a new proposal by City Council Representative Gordy Heminger.

At last night’s general assembly meeting, Heminger came before the Senate and a scattering of student guests in order to explain the terms of a new proposal regarding Section O – which was supported by 22 votes from USG senators.

On Feb. 2 at 7 p.m. during an open forum, Heminger and City Council Representative Robert McComber will propose new terms regarding the controversial section which, as of right now, calls for a push to encourage a licensing and inspection of all rental properties in Bowling Green, USG Vice-President Sundeep Mutgi said.

Under Heminger and McComber’s suggestions, four new additions would be added to the section.

One of these suggested additions would call for only the exterior of homes to be included in the inspection, rather than both the interior and the exterior, Heminger said. Houses with broken or missing windows, peeling paint or overhangs ready to collapse would be subject to an inspection fee.

‘Inspectors wouldn’t be climbing fences or porches,’ Heminger said. ‘They would have to see something from the sidewalk.’

Section O also originally called for both houses and apartments to be included in inspections. Under the new proposal, only houses would be inspected.

Ensuring that all houses, regardless of whether or not they are owner or rental properties, will be treated equally under the proposal will also take precedent under Heminger and McComber’s plan.

‘Including this in the new proposal takes off the stigma that it’s threatening towards students,’ Mutgi said. ‘I think this is a huge win for BG because it’s such an extreme example of how USG can get out and work together to change things for the student body.’

And in terms of the failing economy and the soaring costs of living, the new proposal would work to keep prices low by not hiring any new staff or creating any new ordinances regarding Section O, Heminger said.

‘When it comes to fines, whoever owns the property will be fined where appropriate,’ he said. ‘We’ll also propose a period of time for the homeowner or renter to fix the problem before being fined.’

And though roughly 25 students attended the meeting on Section O, Off-Campus Senator Molly Albertson said its important for students to know exactly what the new proposal entails before making up their minds on the issue.

‘I’ve talked to a lot of constituents and I know they’re concerned about [Section O],’ Albertson said. ‘I think there are going to be a lot of mixed reviews about what happened because a lot of students won’t know what the proposal entails, so it’s important they look closely at this.’

USG President John Waynick, who made an effort to get the meeting out to the students and citizens of Bowling Green by allowing the three-hour assembly to be broadcast live, said he hopes he represented the views of the 17,000 off-campus students when it comes to their feelings on Section O.

‘Do I know this is what every student wanted? No,’ Waynick said. ‘But when you have a vote with zero no’s, it speaks volumes that this is what the majority of students want.’

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