LUBBOCK, Texas – The controversial plan to build multistory student housing near Tech Terrace is now moving on to another vote by the Lubbock City Council.
It was a late night Thursday over at Citizens Tower for the Planning and Zoning Commission’s (P&Z) meeting. One of the agenda items was the proposed high-rise residential building facing 19th St. and 20th St. between University Ave. and Boston Ave.
After hours of hearing arguments from both the Up Campus organization and the Tech Terrace U.N.I.T. Neighborhood Association, P&Z voted 6-2 in favor of the zoning application which will now be heard before the city council at the end of the month.
Back on Nov. 3, 2022, P&Z voted 6-3 against the prior zoning change, but just before the new year on Dec. 22, Up Campus submitted a new plan.
Two weeks ago, the Tech Terrace U.N.I.T. Neighborhood Association filed a “Motion to Dismiss” against Up Campus which would stop the Chicago-based organization from seeking approval on its most recent zoning request. The association argues Up Campus shouldn’t be able to refile for at least a year according to city zoning laws.
Thursday night, the case was heard during the public hearing.
“How many bites do they get at apple?,” said Don Richards, chairman of the Tech Terrace U.N.I.T. ad hoc committee. “You’d think to have that many shots at apple, there ought to be a law against that, and come to think of it, there is. There’s a zoning ordinance against that. You can’t keep coming back and back and back and wearing people out.”
This was the fourth filing from Up Campus in five months. Up Campus’ most recently filed case, #3471-C, includes an approximate 600-bed facility, with covered parking for more than 500 vehicles.
According to Up Campus, the development would have two buildings. The building along 19th St. would be five stories and the building along 20th St. would have four stories.
“It’s essentially the same application, the same proposal, they changed some numbers,” Richards said.
Benji Snead spoke at the meeting on behalf of Up Campus. He said they made significant changes from the organization’s previous filing.
Snead said the number of beds and units has been reduced in size by almost 20%, there’s a greater parking ratio and excess of what’s required by code, a reduction in height on 20th St. from a 3-story building to 2-story homes, and the parking lot accessing 20th street was completely eliminated.
Snead also said the housing project had support from Texas Tech University (TTU).
“This new plan has support from Texas Tech faculty, students, staff, coaches, and administration,” Snead said. “Some of them are here with us tonight, and we know why they support it because they know the numbers.”
EverythingLubbock.com reached out to TTU for a statement.
“Texas Tech University has not taken a position on any proposed off-campus student housing project,” a TTU spokesperson said.
Up Campus said the changes made to their newest plan were done in response to the traffic and density concerns that residents of Tech Terrace had.
“It’s obvious to the neighborhood that any type of multifamily or residential housing in this area that would potentially compete with the rental market in the Texas Tech U.N.I.T would certainly be met with opposition,” said Cory Dulin, principal owner at AMD Engineering. “But we’ve reduced the density significantly.”
The meeting that started at 6 p.m. Thursday went on for over four hours before P&Z voted on the zone case (#3471-C).
P&Z voted 6-2 in favor of sending Up Campus’ most recent zoning request to the Lubbock City Council. The city council will hear this case for the first time at their meeting at 2 p.m. on Feb. 28, and a final decision will be made at 2 p.m. on March 7 at Citizens Tower (1314 Avenue K).