On Monday the S.C Supreme Court upheld a zoning ordinance that bans students from creating rooming houses in the city by capping the number of unrelated people who may share a home at three.
Former state attorney general Henry McMaster had challenged the law, claiming that the zoning ordinance was unconstitutional. But in a 5-0 vote, the Court rejected McMaster’s argument.
The decision is aimed at helping residential areas throughout South Carolinaprevent college students from renting and moving into homes that are typically meant for families.
McMaster argued that the court’s decision to use “broad police powers” will lead to an inevitable slump in the university real estate market. He said the ordinance is a violation of the Constitution’s due-process clause.
However, the court concluded that this ordinance is constitutional and simply aims to prevent the undesirable consequences and effects associated with “mass student congestion.” By exercising this decision, the city hopes to harness the amount of students piling up in single-family residences within city limits.
McMaster, through his company PJM Properties, owns property on Gregg Streetin the University Hill neighborhood near USC.
Danny Crowe, a Columbia lawyer who represented the interest of the S.C. Municipal Association, sais the ruling isn’t meant to be a broad ban on all unrelated people living together and that there will be exceptions, such as the elderly living with care givers or young professionals living together.
Read the article in The State here.