Not only did the city council unanimously vote to send the Bishop/Davis land use study into a public hearing process, no one present at this week’s meeting voiced any opposition, either. That’s the word from Rick Garza, chairman of the committee that has studied land uses along Davis and Bishop for the past year. Portions of the study area were eliminated from the public hearing process at a recent plan commission meeting, but the council vote supercedes the commission’s decision.

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Next up — a delegation of the steering committee and city staff will sit down to outline timing and scheduling of the public hearing process.

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I also chatted with Garza about council’s decision Wednesday to approve a rezoning request from INCAP that involves new townhomes on a parcel of land in the Kings Highway Conservation District. Garza was president of the conservation district’s board in 2005 when INCAP originally approached the neighborhood with this request; more after the jump:

The land that was rezoned, bound by Kings Highway on the north, Mary Cliff on the west and Kyle on the south, is a "single block that consistently has had the highest crime over the last 20 years," Garza says. "It was a series of multi-family buildings that were unkempt, severly deteriorated, and housed way more people than is legal." Garza says Kings Highway neighbors told INCAP they were open to the rezoning, and met six or seven times over the different concerns (for example, INCAP originally wanted to build the townhomes 45 feet high; Kings Highway neighbors compromised at 38 feet).

Before INCAP bought and razed them, roughly 56 multi-family dwellings sat on this parcel of land, Garza says. The new zoning, which allowed for more height, density and setbacks closer to the street, calls for 60 townhomes to be built there. Though the Kings Highway Conservation District board and many neighbors who live there backed INCAP’s plan, Garza says, a few neighbors, including those from nearby Timbergrove Circle, were opposed to some of the changes the rezoning allows — among them, more density.

Garza makes a couple of interesting points, however: Though the land will now have more residential units, they 56 units there before had more than the allowed number of people living in them, so the density would not increase much, and perhaps not at all. He also believes that had INCAP asked for the rezoning change before buying and razing the land — a section that neighbors continually complained about because of the crime issues and drug activity — the developer probably would have faced little to no opposition.