Quantcast

Prof: Evanston’s ‘brothel’ law unnecessary

img_0481

A consortium of organizations headed by the North Shore – Barrington Association of Realtors brought a professor in from Massachusetts to tell Evanston that its so-called “brothel law,” which prohibits more than three unrelated persons from living in the same house, fails to deal with problems that are already addressed by other laws on the books.

A consortium of organizations headed by the North Shore – Barrington Association of Realtors brought a professor in from Massachusetts to tell Evanston that its so-called “brothel law,” which prohibits more than three unrelated persons from living in the same house, fails to deal with problems that are already addressed by other laws on the books.

“The problem is the noise and the trash,” said Dr. Ellen Pader of the University of Massachusetts in Amherst. “It’s not that there are more than three unrelated people living in the house,” she declared.

She made her remarks Wednesday in a lecture at the Evanston Public Library. The event, widely publicized on the Northwestern campus, drew a mixture of students, landlords, and homeowners.

Laws such as the one in Evanston are not unique to this community, she said. Other places have similar laws, usually in university communities, in an attempt to reduce the discomforts to neighbors that result from college students prone to partying late into the night, particularly on weekends.

Pader, an associate professor of regional planning, traced the history of occupancy laws, dating from  colonial days in America, as immigrants from various cultures arrived in this country and found that sometimes it was difficult melding different cultural traditions in the same or adjacent neighborhoods.

Community standards were articulated through the use of building codes, zoning ordinances, and occupancy laws as a way to make residents feel safe and comfortable, she said.

Her solution for Evanston: “Maintenance.” Landlords who pay close attention to upkeep and appearance of their properties, she said, will find that their neighbors won’t mind that they may have more than three unrelated persons living in their house.

As for the neighbors who don’t board students in their homes, Dr. Pader said that “if you live close to a college campus, you have to decide whether the nuisance is something you want to put up with or not.”

keywords » Housing regulations

Charles Bartling

A resident of Evanston since 1975, Chuck Bartling holds a master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University and has extensive experience as a reporter and editor for daily newspapers, radio stations and business-oriented magazines.

Editors’ Picks