“Along Montezuma, 90 percent of the houses are already mini-dorms...." — José Reynoso, chair of the College Area Community Planning Board.
The City of San Diego's efforts to prevent the proliferation of mini-dorms near San Diego State University is under attack, this time from a group calling itself the College Area Students, Tenants, and Landlords Association.
On March 16 the group's attorney, Steven McKinley, filed a lawsuit against the city, claiming the city's mini-dorm ordinance unfairly targets minority groups, low-income students, and others in need of affordable housing.
The lawsuit claims that the City's 2008 decision requires landlords to obtain costly Residential High Occupancy Permits if there are more than five tenants over the age of 18 to occupy a single family residence.
In November of last year the city went a step further and increased fines against property owners who expand normal single family homes into six- to ten-bedroom houses and turn yards into large parking lots.
At the time, as reported by the Union-Tribune, not all councilmembers were on board. District 7 councilmember Scott Sherman expressed his concerns over targeting students and, in effect, reducing the number of affordable housing options.
In 1996 a similar group, College Area Renters and Landlords Association, sued the city for placing a limit on the number of tenants living in a single family home. A trial judge, and later an appellate court, ruled against the city, stating that the ordinance violated statewide standards pertaining to occupancy and affordable housing.
The city will once again appear in court to defend the ordinance.