By Sarah Carlson, Arts Editor
The university has requested that the city rezone the area across from its entrance on Judge Ely Boulevard from a College/University zone to a Residential Single-Family zone.
The university made the request to the Planning and Zoning Commission, a recommending body of the City Council, and the item was discussed at a public hearing March 7. It was passed by the commission with recommendation to the council, which will not vote to formally approve the proposal until April.
Lots 16 through 33 on Pemelton Drive in University Hills have been owned by the university and been for sale for some time, said Kevin Watson, associate vice president for administrative services, in an e-mail.
“We have not been in a hurry to sell them because they sit at our front door,” Watson said, “and so we wanted to be careful about how this area would build out.”
A developer approached the university about buying the remaining lots on Pemelton Drive, and Watson said once the university was able to gain assurances from him of the type and quality of homes that would be built on the site, they were willing to sell the lots to him.
They have asked the city for a Patio Home Overlay, which would allow for the same types of homes to be built along Pemelton Drive that are in areas such as Country Meadows south of Abilene Christian Schools.
“We believe it will help maintain a good strong residential area,” Watson said. Residents in the University Hills area “will have new neighbors as the houses go up, and [it] should help them maintain their property values.”
The university also requested to rezone the house used as the Alumni Relations office on the corner of Washington Boulevard and East North 16th Street, as well as the house next to it, from a residential zone to a College/University zone. This item was also approved to pass by the Planning and Zoning Commission for recommendation to the City Council.
“This CU zoning is more appropriate given what is and will take place at the Alumni Center, and that is why we requested it,” Watson said.
For now, the university is still working on the Pecan Orchard across from the university’s entrance, and Watson said the trees will be installed in the fall.