Planned complex draws criticsm from neighbors

October 25, 2012 5:49:04 PM PDT
Plans are in the works to build a brand new apartment complex in a neighborhood near the Greenway Plaza area and it's a plan that's drawing heated reaction from residents who live nearby.

The proposed complex would be at the corner of Weslayan and Alabama near Greenway Plaza.

The plan is demolish one residential complex and replace it to another. But in order to make that happen, the developers will have to widen a residential street, and that has homeowners on that street concerned.

Catherine Danna has lived in her house on West Main for more than 30 years, but now her front yard is about to change.

"What I'm really worried about is this third lane that's going to be a dedicated right turn lane. It's going to take up part of my yard," she said.

Across the street, a decades-old townhouse development is about to be razed and in its place, 550 units of high-end rental apartments up to seven stories tall. To accommodate the traffic, a right turn lane is being added to West Main, which is currently just a two-lane road.

"This is nothing that we were planning to do, this is something that we're required to do by the city," said Jason Schlanger, VP of Martin Fein Interest.

The last thing long time homeowners want around here is wider streets and more traffic. Councilman Oliver Pennington agrees that West Alabama may be a better alternative.

"I would like to see the main access to that unit off of West Alabama rather than through West Main, which is a small residential street," Pennington said.

But the developer points out their plan will have several different entrances, and overall will maintain the look and feel of the neighborhood.

"We just want to be a part of this neighborhood and we believe that we would be a very positive impact to the neighborhood," Schlanger said.

Longtime homeowners just find the promise of an unchanged neighborhood hard to believe.

"We take care of one another, it's a street I hate to see die -- not only our street but the whole neighborhood," concerned homeowner Mary Knapp said.

Mayor Annise Parker is sympathetic, but says city regulations are limited.

"We don't get to say I want that business, or that apartment. There has to be technical reasons within the law for us to say no," she said.

Demolition of the current residential complex is scheduled to begin in the next couple of weeks.


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