Boarding houses no longer option for housing

Jason Mann

Jason Mann


The Brookings City Council decided Feb. 12 that it will not issue any more boarding house passes.

The council voted 7-0 to pass Ordinance 01-08. While the vote was unanimous, council members Tim Reed, Tom Bezdichek and Ryan Brunner emphasized the need for more student housing in Brookings during discussion on the ordinance.

According to a recently conducted housing study, the city needs more than 200 units, which means there is not enough room for more than 450 people. Brunner said he realizes Brookings has a “severe” housing shortage, but he thinks boarding houses are not a solution and are inefficient. He says that by continuing to issue boarding house passes, the council would not be conducting “good government.”

“Since I’ve been here, we see maybe one [boarding house pass request] a month,” Brunner said. “Adding one person here and there is like putting a band-aid on a cut.”

Brunner said the solution is to establish apartment complexes, rental houses and duplexes in student-heavy areas. He cited the apartment complexes north of Wal-Mart as an example of what Brookings needs.

Sam Nelson, Students’ Association state and local chair, testified against the ordinance. He said that SA agrees boarding houses are not the way to fix the housing problem, but the group does not believe taking an option off the table is a good decision.

Citizens in historic districts were the main proponents of the ordinance. They believe the increasing student presence in their neighborhoods hurts the historical integrity of the area.