Out-of-state students attending universities in the District could soon be forced to become D.C. residents and spend hundreds of dollars to register their cars in the city if they want to be able to park on residential streets near their schools.
|» The D.C. Council said Tuesday that two public hearings will be held later this month on ward redistricting boundaries, as mandated by law following the 2010 census. The hearings are scheduled for 5 p.m. on Thursday, April 21, and at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, April 27. Both hearings will be held at the John Wilson Building. By law, the District's redistricting plan must be completed by July 14.|
At-large D.C. Councilman Michael Brown introduced a bill Tuesday that would deny those students access to temporary resident parking permits, saying that District residents living near universities consistently complain about the lack of parking spaces.
"Every time we venture out into our neighborhoods that are close to some of our universities, I hear the residents complaining that they cannot get parking," Brown said. "We are not trying to limit that the students in our city cannot park, they just have to register their cars here in the District of Columbia."
Under current law, people qualify for temporary residence
if they are a member or on the staff of a member of Congress, active-duty U.S. military personnel, or a full-time student attending a college or university in D.C. Due to parking restrictions in wards 2A and 2E, Georgetown and George Washington students are already ineligible for the permits.
If passed, the bill will eliminate eligibility for all out-of-state students in the District, forcing them to register their vehicles in the District and change their primary residence.
Theo Graves, a 22-year-old Howard University senior and Virginia resident, said he is against additional laws preventing him from parking near campus.
"I am against that on all fronts," said Graves. "I'm a Virginia resident. I don't want to register my car in D.C. just because I'm at school for a couple years. I might not even have a car there for the rest of the year."
Car registration is $72, not including a zone sticker or excise tax. Totals run into the hundreds of dollars. "It's substantial," Brown conceded. "For folks that this may inconvenience, they may not be happy about it, but we hope they become D.C. residents and they are happy in the end," Brown said.
The city is currently facing a $322 million deficit, and Brown admitted that this bill could help them regain some of those funds.
"Obviously, this is a revenue generator. Not huge dollars, but clearly something positive to the revenue flow."
When asked whether some students would be upset about losing their vote in congressional elections by becoming D.C. residents, Brown said, "I'm not sure if they'll be upset or not, but that's part of being a resident here, and this is part of the process."