LUBBOCK, Texas -– The planning and zoning commission voted 6-3 to not change the zoning for a housing project on 19th Street in Thursday night’s packed meeting. This means the decision will now go to City Council.
The proposal was tabled on September 1 after residents of Tech Terrace expressed concerns with the project. A new apartment complex that would be directly across Texas Tech on 19.
It would demolish the Godbold Cultural Center and Student Lutheran Center to build a four-story complex with over 700 beds and a parking garage.
District 3 Councilman Mark McBrayer has lived in Tech Terrace for over 55 years and admitted to having the same concerns as residents in the area.
“750 students put into that one block area, and all their cars, all the traffic,” he explained, “I just don’t think that will work well on that particular piece of property.”
Other residents said the project would bring a lot of headaches and add to the traffic problem that’s already there and take away structures that hold lots of history.
Cyd Seidmeman, a Tech Terrace resident said, “There’s nothing wrong with the Godbold Center as it sits, it’s merely unused. It’s just waiting for a suitable development.”
The developer is one out of Chicago, and those in support of the project believe Texas Tech needs more housing to support the University’s rapid expansion.
Sheryl Gonzales has lived in Tech Terrace for over 20 years, and she said she researched the housing that’s already available. She explained, “We have at least 800 rentals within three miles of Texas Tech, and 26 within Tech Terrace. So, I think that they there’s still room in other places.”
All of this isn’t to say those in opposition also oppose new housing, they just believe Tech Terrace isn’t the right place to have it.
Don Richards, another resident in the neighborhood explained, “We’d like to have the property developed in a suitable way that complements the history in the neighborhood and benefits Texas Tech.”
City Council members will vote on the project and Planning and Zoning said it’s uncommon for them to go in the opposite direction of what P&Z recommends. However, they said it has happened before. They are expected to vote Wednesday, November 16.