Buckeye Village parking charges spark petition from residents
Published: Wednesday, March 6, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, March 6, 2013 23:03
Parking spaces at Buckeye Village that were once free will cost more than $600 next year, and some residents aren’t happy.
Some residents of Buckeye Village, located across the Olentangy River on Defiance Drive near Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium, gathered Tuesday to protest the charge and sign a petition.
CampusParc, the company that has been handling OSU’s daily parking operation since September, informed residents in a Monday email that its previously free parking spaces are now going to cost a total of $620.25 per year starting on July 31, when university parking passes are scheduled to expire before renewed passes become active on Aug. 1.
However, a prorated cost will start in May and residents must purchase their new “CP” parking permits by May 16. Residents received a second email from OSU Housing on Tuesday, stating that they only had two more weeks to decide if they were going to renew their lease.
According to OSU’s University and Residences Dining Services website, Buckeye Village leases expire on May 15.
“CP” passes allow students living in residence halls to park on campus overnight.
Suzi Yee, a second-year graduate student in the College of Nursing, is a Buckeye Village resident. Yee said the perks of living in Buckeye Village were important factors in her and husband’s decision to move to Columbus in order for her to enter graduate school.
“I came here on a graduate fellowship where they give you a stipend that covers your tuition, but another big selling point for me and my husband was knowing we could live at Buckeye Village,” Yee said. “So, we took the leap and sold our house in Coshocton (about an hour and a half northeast of Columbus).”
Yee said the residents of Buckeye Village put together the petition because they had concerns about the transparency of the transition.
The residents were not a part of the decision-making process and some want to make sure CampusParc took these changes to the university’s Parking Advisory Committee for approval. If they were approved, the residents of Buckeye Village want to know why residents were not involved in the discussion prior to the major change.
Sarah Blouch, director of CampusParc, said in an email that the company would not be able to create parking changes without university approval.
“We began discussions with the university in November about Buckeye Village, understanding there would be a lot of questions and concerns,” Blouch said. “OSU asked us to delay implementation of the fee until the new leases began, and while it was not financially advantageous for us to do so, we agreed given the sensitivity of the issue.”
Some who live in the community are worried about the cost. The total cost for parking would come out to about $50 extra a month per vehicle. Yee said many of the residents chose to live at Buckeye Village because they do not have a lot of extra money.
“There are many international students, graduate assistants, teaching assistants, families and students in the ACCESS Collaborative Program that are living here on a fixed income,” Yee said. “This a very vulnerable community and they don’t have a lot of other places to go.”
According to OSU’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion website, the ACCESS Collaborative Program is an “academic and social support program to assist low-income minority single-parent students who are pursuing a college education.”
Buckeye Village residents pay $555 or $695 per month depending on the number of rooms and people living in a unit, according to OSU’s University Residences and Dining Services website.
Student Life spokesman Dave Isaacs said in an email OSU’s family housing units consist of “143 two-bedroom apartments and 201 one-bedroom apartments” where more than 170 domestic students and more than 130 international students live. Those numbers don’t include family members living in their households.
The students residing in Buckeye Village have put together a list of requests in the petition regarding the parking change, including assuring security in the lots and a delay in putting up signs that make it publicly known the area is permit parking.
Some residents would like to negotiate with CampusParc to only allow Buckeye Village residents to park in these spaces and maintain a system in the lots that assigned spaces to residents.
However, Blouch said that scenario is unlikely.
“There is nothing to indicate to us that the parking area will be used by anyone other than the residents of Buckeye Village since this location is somewhat remote from main academic buildings,” Blouch said. “The people parking there today will likely continue to park there when the permit requirement begins (assuming they purchase a permit).”
Some residents also want to work on a more affordable price range. Yee said the prices of the new required passes for their lot will be comparable to those of the of the Central Campus residence hall overnight passes, but their location is much different.
“Traffic around here should only be the residents, so we do not understand why the cost is so high,” Yee said.
Yee said residents would like to work alongside CampusParc but also preserve their community and are looking to come up with a solution to benefit both parties.
Lindsay Komlanc, OSU Administration and Planning spokeswoman, said the university will work with all involved partners to see if there are other options for the Buckeye Village residents in regards to parking.
The concerned residents intend to send their petition to parties including The Council of Graduate Students, Inter-Professional Council, Student Life Vice President Javaune Adams-Gaston, OSU President E. Gordon Gee and Student Legal Services.
“We just want them to know that these policies are hurting these students,” Yee said. “I think this will turn people off to this community, and we do not want to make it harder for them to attract the type of talent they want at Ohio State.”