LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - It was a packed chamber for Lubbock City Council Thursday night as Guadalupe residents came out to speak about the proposed Guadalupe Villas development.
This was just the first reading of the ordinance, but the council approved the zoning measure 5 to 1, with only Councilman Juan Chadis, a resident of the north "El Barrio" neighborhood, voting against it.
The Planning & Zoning commission on January 9 approved the zoning change of a plot of land between 3rd Street and the Marsha Sharp Freeway from Interstate Highway Commercial to High-Density Apartment.
The request came from Hugo Reed and Associates, Inc., for DWR Development Group, LLC on behalf of former Texas Tech Chancellor Kent Hance, KRS Housing. The plan now is to build single and two-story apartment complexes for seniors age 62 and older, the Guadalupe Villas.
Most residents of the neighborhood speaking against the development expressed desire for single-family homes to keep the historical and family friendly neighborhood.
Opponents expressed concern the complex would lower property values for their homes, add traffic, require infrastructure not accessible in the area as well as disruption to a quaint area with tradition of passing homes and property from generation to generation. Many were concerned there would be a lack of respect or understanding of their neighborhood by temporary tenants of the rental property.
A home builder also got up to speak about his desire to build single-family homes, something he says he heard many say there was no desire to do such.
Opponents also worry about how the project will be handled by property management in the future and how the facility would be maintained.
Developers and those for the project also spoke following the opposition, assuring the residents and council of the what they called a promising development.
The developers told the council the homeowners adjacent to the property were properly informed about the project after its inception in mid December and the project was even changed from multi-family low-income housing to the senior housing because of concerns heard from the neighborhood.
Proponents said this development is needed now and the area can not wait for single-family homes or holding out hope for a future project.
Employees of similar Lubbock housing complexes expressed support and their assurances the facilities are well-kept and operated in ways welcoming to senior citizens who they feel need affordable housing.
The construction cost is expected around $18 to $19 million.
Councilwoman Karen Gibson moved and Councilman Jeff Griffith seconded to approve the rezoning ordinance for Guadalupe Villas.
Lubbock Mayor Dan Pope called it a good use of the land and pointed out that those directly by the property are for it. He said he had hard time seeing what stands in the way.
Karen Gibson was concerned that the property was left vacant for so long and thinks this will be a good project. She said she feels for both sides and thanked citizens for the courteous public hearing.
Mayor Pro Tem Latrelle Joy said the project has a chance of not happening as it applies for a housing tax credit.
Jeff Griffith said he has a similar property in his district that tried to do single-family homes near the freeway that has failed so far. He said this project will help revitalize downtown and also thanked the audience for their respect.
Councilman Steve Massengale reminded people that Thursday night's decision is not final and this is just for zoning. He says this will not hurt the nearby school and will help with senior living. He thinks this will be a quality project
There will be another reading of the ordinance in a following council meeting.