City pulls proposal to limit guests

A public hearing on an ordinance to limit the number of guests in a residence sparked a debate that had students and city on separate sides. In the end, the issue was postponed for more research.

It seemed to be an issue that would mainly affect the student population, as opposed to more permanent city residents. The proposal, which began about a month ago, was headed by council member Stan Bortel to prevent overcrowding in apartment buildings and other places of residence that had only one direct exit to the outside.

Josh Kontak, Undergraduate Student Government President, represented the voice of the student population at Monday night’s hearing.

“This ordinance is an extreme invasion of student rights,” Kontak said.

He added that, in a college town, many students have relatives and friends come to visit them for commencement celebrations. Kontak was one of a handful of students that spoke against the ordinance.

Jon Toman, also a member of USG, voiced his concerns regarding the ordinance as well and said the proposal is unnecessary.

“Many of the rental companies and leasers in Bowling Green already have a maximum guest policy limiting the number of people allowed in the apartments,” Toman said. “It is stated in the rental agreements.”

Many of the rental companies that rent to students and other members of the community state in their contracts how many people can be in an apartment.

Matt Lyons, another USG member, spoke against the issue and addressed the concern that this ordinance is simply dividing the student population and the city.

Debate in the council room Monday night seemed to pit students versus the city. A few of the city residents, however, did speak up on the behalf of students.

Sue Rayle, who lives in a single family home — which the ordinance does not apply to — still feels that it is not a good way to solve anything.

“The only people that this ordinance is targeting are the ones who can’t afford to buy their own homes,” Rayle said.

Rayle also mentioned that this ordinance would be in conflict with the fourth amendment to the Constitution — Search and Seizure. Meaning that in order for police and fire marshalls to check how many people are in a place, they must go in and count the number of guests.

However, there were a few people who spoke in favor of the proposal, too.

Bob Maurer, who owns a rental company in Bowling Green, commended Stan Bortel for his proposal and addressed the students’ concerns as well as the proposal itself.

Addressing one of Josh Kontak’s statements, Bob Maurer asked “What rights are we taking away?”

“This is not a matter of what students want, it is a matter of keeping them and community members safe,” he added.

Maurer saw the proposal as a good way to protect the community and make it safer.

However, after the public hearing was over, and the City Council meeting got underway, the ordinance was pulled from the table by Stan Bortel.

“I decided to pull the ordinance for now,” Bortel said. “Because I recently got information from Steve Regoli who is an executive director for the office of building standards in Columbus.”

Bortel said he sent his proposal to Regoli and received it back with revisions made to the ordinance.

“I pulled the proposal for now, but I am going to revise it and bring it up again, hopefully sometime in August,” Bortel said. “And the chances are we will probably have a public hearing in September still when the students are back.”