UVA's failure the crowding source

In your otherwise excellent article on the negative impacts of student housing on residential neighborhoods around UVA ["Crowded house: It may be cozy, but should it be illegal?" March 20] (http://www.readthehook.com/93193/cover-crowded-house-it-may-be-cozy-shou...), I was disappointed that you didn't even make passing reference to the source of this problem: the University's long-standing failure to provide enough on-grounds housing to keep up with its growing student population.

Although Charlottesville's overall population has remained flat over the past few decades, the number of UVA students housed off-grounds increased from 3,185 to 12,326 between 1960 and 1995– and that count is still rising. Currently, the University houses fewer than half of its undergraduate student population and very few of its graduate students, faculty, and staff.

The growing number of students living off-grounds has not only affected the quality of life in neighborhoods surrounding the University, but it has also put enormous pressure on the City's own housing market, decreasing the supply and driving up the costs of housing for working poor and blue-collar families.

If we're ever going to make any inroads in addressing this problem, the City has to engage with the University in a very serious effort to identify and pull together the resources that will be necessary to make more on-grounds housing a reality. There are funding mechanisms in place for these kinds of projects: UVA owns some great building sites, and I'm sure there are private developers and management companies who would love to build and manage some attractive new housing if UVA does not wish to do so itself.

As they say: Where there's a will, there's a way. Now we just need some will.

Dave Norris
Charlottesville