Highland Avenue rezoned

Published 6:20 pm Thursday, July 23, 2009

Despite opposition from several Troy residents, the Planning Commission approved a request to rezone the first block of Highland Avenue.

The request came from 21 property owners to rezone the 100-block of Highland from a R-1 single family zoning to an R-3 high-density area, which would allow for apartments, duplexes and multi-family housing.

“Three years ago in March we first presented this request to the board,” said Denny Sanford, property owner who presented the request on behalf of the others. “It was suspended or tabled until the city plan was complete. Our request is consistent with the definition of the maps.”

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Of the property owners, Sanford said none have definite plans for their property, with the exception of KT Cole, who said he plans to build an apartment complex. Cole said he didn’t have specifics of his plans in place, as he was waiting on a zone change to move forward.

Opposition to the requests came from officials at First Presbyterian Church and residents who lived in surrounding areas.

“Our church has a house adjacent to that property,” said First Presbyterian Pastor Michael Alsup. “If high density apartments were put there, it would make that house difficult to live in.”

While Alsup said he enjoys working with college students, he would not enjoy living near them.

“Not only will this impact Highland, but this will impact University. This is a domino effect,” Alsup said.

Others in opposition agreed.

“I work for Troy University. I like Troy University students, but when one moves into the area, that area deteriorates,” said Ed Stevens, who lives in the Ridgewood Subdivision.

Stevens offered petitions signed by locals three years ago, and without specific plans for the area, expressed concern of what may become of that block.

“If it was Troy University putting up quality housing that was supervised, great,” Stevens said. “We don’t want to see our neighborhood decline.”

Cole said any apartments he builds in the area would be quality and have 24-hour security.

Peter Howard, resident of University Avenue, said his concern was what may become of the high-density zoning, since he alleged current zoning laws are not enforced.

“I think at this time, a deliberate move from R-1 to R-3 is a bit hasty and somewhat ill-advised,” Howard said. “It is obvious and very-easily and readily approvable they have been in open violation of these laws.”

Planning Commission Chairman Bill Hopper said the Planning Commission has no authority over enforcing zoning laws.

And, with recommendations in the Troy City Comprehensive Community Master Plan and agreement from 21 of 21 landowners, the board unanimously approved the rezoning requests.