The Fort Worth Board of Adjustment voted unanimously Wednesday afternoon to approve the four variances and one special exception needed for TCU to build a parking lot on the 2800 block of Lubbock and Merida.
The university will now continue with plans to purchase the two remaining lots on the block and attempt to pass the same variances at the August Board of Adjustment meeting.
Former Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Don Mills said ground will likely be broken late fall 2011, and the project should be completed by January 2012.
Permission from the board gave the university permission to build an off-site auxiliary parking lot on land zoned for residential use.
Houses on the block will be demolished to provide 336 parking spaces for students in a location 400 feet from Smith Hall.
Board member Wendy Vann Roach raised questions about whether the board should support doing away with residential housing stock to build a parking lot.
Mills said that in his estimation, 75 percent of the houses on the block were already being used as rental property for TCU students.
Mills told the board that he had met with the neighborhood associations several times, and that the groups were in favor of the lot.
“The complaints I get from neighbors are (about) cars on their street,” Mills said. What this does is take 300 cars out of the neighborhood and put them in a parking lot. ”
Mills said he also agreed to the neighborhood associations’ requests for university support in approaching the city to prohibit parking on the streets around the lot.
Mills assured the Board of Adjustment that the neighborhood associations were in agreement that the lot would benefit the neighborhoods.
“It was also unanimous that no one builds a prettier parking lot than TCU,” Mills added.
The lot will be monitored by campus police and regulated with the university’s parking stickers that are already in affect.
In response to questions about headlights facing into houses from the lot, Mills said shrubs could be planted along the lot’s wrought iron fence to cut down on the light.
According to the university’s proposal to the board, the lot will be “attractively landscaped” with more trees than are required by the city.
The board voted unanimously in favor of the request with no discussion.