Starting All Over?
By Laura Sanchez
At the March 19 meeting, city councilors spent lots of time early in the evening on a land use appeal. Then, as 11 p.m. approached, they quickly passed several bills. In between, they wrangled with the recent controversy over taxes and transportation.
Residents of the Clayton Heights/Lomas del Cielo Heights Neighborhood Association appealed a zoning change allowing 240 rental units on a narrow, arroyo-like, 17-acre strip of land along Gibson east of University. Isabel Cabrera said the neighborhood was already 60 percent rental housing, with attendant problems, and that they wanted retail development like restaurants, groceries or hardware stores that would serve nearby residents. A representative of the developer, Houston-based Alliance Residential, said the neighborhood didn't have the population or the income levels to bring in the commercial development they wanted. The Council denied the appeal 5-4, Councilors Debbie O'Malley, Michael Cadigan, Isaac Benton and Martin Heinrich opposing the high-density construction.
Passing unanimously were the administration's bill banning additional adult businesses Downtown, Cadigan's zone change request allowing a Costco to go in at the intersection of Eagle Ranch Road and the Coors by-pass, Cadigan's study of two extra lanes on Paseo del Norte from Eubank to the Paseo del Volcan alignment, and Benton's bill allocating a portion of Community Revitalization funds to acquire the Barelas railyard property. Council President Debbie O'Malley's bill appropriating $9.254 million for operating costs at the Metropolitan Detention Center passed 6-3, Councilors Sally Mayer, Ken Sanchez and Craig Loy opposed.
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