Student homes defined as land use

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The Orono Town Council last week approved adding student homes as a specific land use, which possibly could lead to further regulation of such homes down the line.

The change was one of a series of land use ordinance amendments recommended during the 2014-15 update of Orono’s comprehensive plan. It defines “student home” as a dwelling unit occupied by three or more college students, at least one of whom is paying rent.

The amendment also creates in the land use ordinance a performance standard section for student homes, where a certificate of occupancy is required for newly established student homes (existing ones are grandfathered from this requirement); requires registration under the Rental Registration Ordinance; allows student homes to be located wherever the form of housing they are occupying is allowed; and requires documentation that the “student home” meets all code requirements.

The change gives the council the option to consider further amendments in the future. This summer, Community Development Director Dave Milan, said the council could take steps such as allowing student housing only in certain neighborhoods, although he stressed that was being cite at the time as an example only.