Unused Frat Houses
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The fate of several Penn State fraternity houses is now up to a Centre County judge. It comes after several months of ongoing legal battles between the State College Borough and property owners. Officials said it's the first time in over four decades that they've had to deal with something like this, and it all comes after a string of recent fraternity suspensions. "In the last two years, we've seen a wave of university action that removed the recognition of fraternities," said Ed LaClear, with the State College Borough. "What that means is they are no longer permitted to use the houses." One Monday while rezoning big policy items, fraternity house use was high on the list. It's the first time the borough has looked at widespread rezoning since 1959. The borough ordinances say that no more than five residents can live in the houses within the "ROA zoning district." Tensions brewed when the borough decided to enforce the rules. "When they lose recognition, they're not allowed to occupy the building because they're technically not a fraternity anymore," said LaClear. There's been only one fraternity house conversion since 1971. With a number of fraternities currently suspended, the borough needs to decide how the homes can best be used. "I think we're hoping that there are some uses out there that currently isn't permitted that council wants to look at," said LaClear. The borough said it will be several months until they vote on changing any ordinances. Oral arguments in the case between the borough and property owners has been scheduled for July 16.