March 22, 2001

What Caused The Housing Crisis


By Jon A. Brake

The South Manhattan Neighborhood Association think they have a problem or two or three..

1. Big Super Duplexes are being built all over the South side.

2. Five to eight cars and trucks are parked in the back, front and even on the grass.

3. The nights are noisy, the yards have trash and the streets are congested.

Does the South side have a problem? Yes, and so does most of older Manhattan.

Some people have been working on these problems for years. But it was done without fanfare and without the
knowledge of the other areas of town. They have added to the South side problem and to the housing problems all
over Manhattan.

First of all there are more than three problems..there are many.

Taxes are going higher.

Enrollments in the School system is declining.

Rents are high.

Housing is short.

This is what has happened to Manhattan. K-State has increased enrollment but stopped building student housing in
the sixties. The City of Manhattan zoned a large area East and South of the University as high density. But when
the 12-plex started going up the neighborhoods started to band together.

In 1996 the Neighborhood Associations created enough problems for the City that the staff and Commission
changed the zoning outlawing the 12-plex.

According to the City no new buildings have been added to the East side of the University since 1996.

If you do not have rental units available close to the University what will happen? Other areas of town will be taken
over as rental units. If apartments are not available, single family homes are taken over.

Family homes in family neighborhoods are being rented to three, four, even eight students. A family of four can not
pay the same rent as four students..who can blame the landlord. Rent the house for $500 to family or rent it to four
students for $300 each.

Taxes are going higher because family homes are being sold as rentals at higher prices. The assessed value of all
of the homes will go up with each sale.

As more and more family homes are turned into rental units, families are moved to other areas or other towns.

Rents are high and there is a Housing shortage because the City has stopped all 12-plex construction. That
moves the students to the family home and everyone pays more.

The City had the correct zoning but chaned it to help the Neighborhood Associations. The area next to the
University should be high density not single family.

Some houses in the older neighborhoods are 100 to 140 years old. They were built as one and two bedrooms
without a bath. The bath was twenty yards out back. These houses should be removed because they have out live
their usefulness.

You will not see the City staff or Commissioners spending $40,000 on an old two bedroom house and then another
$50,000 to fix it up. It can not and will not be done.

The City Commission has been telling us that we need 3,000 low income housing units. Where will they put them?
Not on the East side of the University because you can not even build a 12-plex there. Not on the South side
because they don't even want a duplex.

The City has asked the University to provide land for apartment complexes. The University can not sell the land
but the City would like them to work out something with builders like the University did with the Ramada Inn. The
University provided the land, the developer built the hotel and ran it for 20 years and then it went back to the

The South side does have a problem, it is not the super duplex, it is the fact the City changed the high density