Students and residents can coexist, if everyone follows some simple rules
By SEUNA (South East University Neighborhood Association)
Every year, as students return to the Syracuse University neighborhood, change and adjustment are required of everyone involved. Here are some tips to help make your stay in our neighborhood more fun, productive and satisfying.
First, be a good neighbor. Remember that not everyone around you is a student, nor do they necessarily share your schedule, tastes or preferences. If you (1) keep your home and yard clean and (2) keep noise to a minimum, you should have no trouble maintaining a pleasant relationship with your neighbors.
Be safe. The demands of school and the freedom of your new independence may distract you from hazards to both yourself and your property. You are not in a dormitory anymore; there are no resident assistants and no security guards. Strangers who wander into a big party at your house may just be friendly, or they may be casing your home for a robbery. With its transient and often naive population, off-campus student housing can be an easy target for thieves.
Observe the basics of home security. Make sure your landlord has changed the locks since the last tenants left; find out who has copies of the keys. Don’t advertise your valuables: A stereo on the porch is an open invitation for someone to steal it. Buy an inexpensive lamp timer to give the appearance of someone at home while you are away.
Be aware of the permanent residents who live on your block. Their watchful eyes may offer your best defense against robbery when you are at school or away during breaks and holidays. Syracuse Police can provide other common-sense safety guidelines; contact them at 442-5210.
Remember that most houses in the neighborhood are wood-frame construction. Fire is always a concern. Make sure that all fire detectors in your house are working at all times. Think twice about accepting an attic or basement bedroom—could you escape if fire blocked your usual exit? State law requires that barbecue grills be no closer than 20 feet from your house or garage when in use. Remember that fireworks are illegal throughout New York state.
Obey the laws. This includes observing regulations such as odd-even parking. Remember that emergency vehicles can’t get through many neighborhood streets if cars are parked on both sides. Parking is not allowed in front yards, across sidewalks or over curbs. Parking laws and guidelines are especially important during the winter, when snow plows must get through. Remember that snow must be removed from sidewalks within 24 hours. Unless your landlord has specified otherwise in your lease, this is your responsibility.
The city’s “definition of family” ordinance limits unrelated adults to no more than five per household. It’s important to observe this limit; overcrowding amplifies neighborhood problems with trash, noise and especially parking.
Trash can be set out only between 8 p.m. the night before trash pickup and 6 a.m. the morning of trash pickup. The city enforces this schedule because trash that’s left at the curb for any length of time is soon scattered across the neighborhood. Anything more than three 30-gallon cans, or three sealed trash bags, will require special arrangements for pickup. Except for trash pickup day, all trash containers should be kept out of sight at the side or back of the house. Information on trash removal, special pickup requirements and recycling is available by calling 448-CITY (448-2489). In fact, most city services can be reached by calling that number.
Be considerate. Remember that you are living in a single-family neighborhood where quiet is taken for granted. The city’s noise ordinance prohibits unnecessary noise that crosses property boundaries, 24 hours a day. Noise complaints can be reported to the police at 442-5111. Dogs must be leashed, kept in a fenced-in yard, or otherwise restrained.
Does it sound like a lot of rules and responsibilities? Perhaps, but that’s what it takes to make a diverse neighborhood like ours work. Try to get the hang of it. After all, it may not be long until you are the homeowner welcoming students into your neighborhood.
SEUNA welcomes questions and concerns from students. Contact them
at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit sauna.org for more information on the oldest
continuously functioning volunteer organization in Syracuse.