360 Management’s Aubrey Gulledge recently participated in the Student Housing Task Force, a group established by Auburn mayor Ron Anders to study the current student housing dilemma. The group included members from both the private and public sector. Aubrey was in the room with property managers, REALTORS®, developers, university faculty members, a university student, and city council members. A variety of students on campus participated in focus groups with the task force to discuss questions about student housing. After the focus groups finished, the task force presented their findings in a meeting that was open to the public.
Four sessions determined what students thought about Auburn’s housing opportunities. Many types of students participated: working students, students living in high-rent locations, international students, students with families, and others.
Cottage style houses were most appealing to students. Price and location played a very important role when picking out housing. Students prefer local property managers and do not prefer the large, high-rise downtown apartments. They feel those developments take away from Auburn’s small-town feel.Aubrey Gulledge
What Students Want
Why cottage style houses? Students cited price, having their own space, ease of parking, and choice of roommates as primary reasons for this preference. Many students lamented the city ordinance prohibiting the cohabitation of more than two unrelated people in traditional residential neighborhoods. Most students report driving at least once a day, whether they lived on or off campus. This finding contradicts the largely held theory that location reduces traffic.
This task force provided vital information for Auburn residents and leaders. We are so proud of Aubrey for taking the initiative to be a leader in our industry and community.Leigh Bass
Flaws in the Danter Report
Every year, Auburn hires Danter and Associates to put together a report on student housing. The results are studied by developers to determine student housing needs. Upon closer study of the most recent report, the task force found that it does not include all property management companies and is therefore inaccurate and flawed. This is concerning because major city decisions are based on this annual report. The task force concluded that the Danter Report should be further reviewed.
What does this mean for future of development in Auburn?
The task force is not sure how the information gathered will be used. Their shared goal is to provide accurate information about student preferences. What they know is that it is important that information be shared publicly so that it can be carefully considered by developers, decision-makers, and residents. The task force recognized that there are many opinions and strong feelings about new developments in Auburn.
I am honored to have had the chance to participate in this task force. It reinforced for me what I already knew about this town – we all want what is best for the future of Auburn and its residents. I look forward to future opportunities to be part of the future of my town!Aubrey Gulledge