Residents upset over MBU expansion into neighborhood

STAUNTON, Va. (WHSV) -- Mary Baldwin University will expand its student housing to two houses on Sycamore Street and some neighbors are pushing back.

At a meeting on Thursday night, Staunton City Council voted to approve a special use permit that allows 12 MBU students to move into 245 Sycamore Street and 249 Sycamore Street.

During a public hearing, several residents spoke out against the decision. They brought up concerns about traffic, noise, and trash pollution.

"I'm very disappointed," said Alexandra Pitts, a resident on Sycamore Street. "Mary Baldwin has been very bad neighbors to us and I don't expect it to change. The students can be lovely, it has nothing to do with that, it has to do with the way the administration uses our street as a campus and then wants the city and the tax payers to clean up after them."

Pitts' feelings were mutual among other residents. One person pushing back against the proposal said their car had been hit and their property had been vandalized.

A representative from Mary Baldwin also spoke at the meeting and said the housing would have minimal impact on residents.

He explained that the University just brought in its largest first year class, and has reached full residential capacity for the first time in years.

"We need to meet these housing needs, while still maintaining an amicable relationship with neighbors."

MBU proposed a number of solutions in response to resident concerns including a speed bump in the neighborhood, walk ways and more lighting.

The special use permit will last for one year.