Resident: Council Gutted South Knoll Plan

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Council members and residents burned the midnight oil Thursday night, working to hash out a neighborhood plan that could have shaken things up not only in the South Knoll area, but the entire city.

On the table was a comprehensive plan. It was result of months of meetings between South Knoll residents and planning and zoning commission officials.

Residents in South Knoll, just off Southwest Parkway near Texas, have taken issue with students renting houses in the area. Homeowner Charles Barr said he and others are fed up with the continual parties, bad traffic and unkept yards.

"People on the roof, public urination and streets packed with cars," said Barr.

Barr and other spoke before council at Thursday night's meeting. Most of the speakers were for the plan, but some did speak out against it.

The plan, which was recommended by the Planning and Zoning Commission, called for several changes to existing laws, as well as better enforcement of the ones already on the books.

Tops on the list, and perhaps the most controversial, were requests to ban overnight parking along streets, and greater limits to how many unrelated people can live in a single-family home.

Council voted to pass the plan, but not without revisions. Council members voted not to allow smaller areas within South Knoll to apply for overlay zoning, which would further limit the number of unrelated residents.

They also voted to remove the request for rental registration forms. These forms would require a list of names of people living in a home, and for that list to be updated annually.

Council members voted against a request to remove parking from both sides of all streets between the hours of 2 and 6 a.m..

South Knoll residents also asked to remove on-street parking for character or aesthetic reasons. Council voted to allow this, but only if a two-third majority of residents vote in favor of it.

Barr said while the decisions by council weren't unexpected, he's disappointed with the results.

"They basically gutted the plan," Barr said. "it's little more than just a bunch of house keeping right now."

Barr said he felt the opinions of South Knoll residents didn't matter to council.

As for the students in his neighborhood, Barr said he's noticed some changes lately. He said a college student took her garbage can out to the street, and on the way back stopped to pick up some weed clippings from the ground.

"I nearly dropped my tea!" Barr said.

Barr said he's not sure what brought on the change, or if it will stay, but he's happy to see a difference.