Santa Clara Residents Fight to Keep "Mini Dorm" Out of Neighborhood

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Several Santa Clara residents are urging city leaders to stop a home remodel they fear will turn into student housing. Jean Elle reports.

    Several Santa Clara residents are urging city leaders to stop a home remodel they fear will turn into student housing.

    Residents on Park Avenue are concerned Santa Clara University students will move into the so-called mini dorm project and change their neighborhood.

    "There's outrage in the neighborhood," resident Veronica O'Shea said. "We're upset fighting all the way."

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    O'Shea and her neighbors found out about the project online. What was once a two-bedroom, one-bathroom house was recently listed as a six-bedroom, three-bathroom home renting for $8,000 a month.

    "We didn't sign up for the cops, the noise, the litter and parking," O'Shea said. "If two bedrooms couldn't find parking, how can six bedrooms and all the renters find parking?"

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    About 30 neighbors are now petitioning the Santa Clara City Council to stop the project.

    City planners, however, said the buyer is within zoning laws. Officials also said the city can't limit the number of bedrooms -- only the size of the home.

    Neighbors are notified of remodeling plans if a second story is added.

    Santa Clara-resident Mark Kelsey said he will fight for a new process to prevent a next time.

    "We want a thoughtful, planned approach to our neighborhood," he said.

    City council members said they are looking into crafting an ordinance that would require a special permit for remodels that add several bedrooms.

    Neighbors plan to press the issue at the city council meeting Tuesday night.