By: Donald C. Turner
The West Chester Borough Council passed a resolution on February 15, 2012 instructing its solicitor to prepare an amendment to the West Chester Zoning Ordinance that would eliminate student homes as a permitted use in the Town Center zoning district.
As a result those town center property owners who rent to students and those who want to reserve their rights to rent to students should take action NOW to assure their individual rental units are “grandfathered” so as to permit these student homes to continue after enactment of this ordinance. In order to be “grandfathered” (in zoning parlance this is referred to as a non-conforming use) the property owner must be able to establish by credible evidence that the owner used the unit as a student home before the proposed ordinance was first published. Property owners must be very careful in how they establish this and must do so promptly as it is highly likely the proposed ordinance will soon be published, after which the owner may be foreclosed from establishing the basis for being grandfathered.