Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Pate withdraws petition to change zoning for housing

Just hours before the Tuscaloosa City Council was set to vote on a petition to rezone an area off Hargrove Road, developer Stan Pate withdrew the petition.

“It was obvious it wasn’t going to pass,” Pate said.

The intent of Pate’s rezoning petition was to rezone the area to allow for a new student housing development.

“Tuscaloosa Neighbors Together has put forth studies that suggest there is no more student housing needed,” Pate said. “That’s counting doors, rather than looking at what students really need and the experience they want to have here.”

Pate felt the petition was not going to pass due to issues upon which he and the locals could not come to an agreement.

“They’ve said some very negative things here about the students, such as they were noisy and trashy — quite frankly, I think the life blood of Tuscaloosa’s economy is students,” he said.

Other issues Pate mentioned included traffic, building height and density issues.

“The message I see coming from neighborhoods and the city is that students aren’t welcome,” Pate said. “Well, that isn’t consistent with the growth of the University and its value to the community.”

Now that Pate has withdrawn his petition, the land will go back to its original zoning, R2, which is designated for single family developments and mobile homes, according to Philip O’Leary, deputy director of land use controls for Tuscaloosa.

O’Leary said there’s no specific plans for development in the area now. If a developer wanted to build there, they would need to get a mobile home park layout or subdivision plan approved by the city.

Tina Sheikhzeinoddin, a junior majoring in civil engineering who is living off campus in the fall, said she wouldn’t mind seeing more off-campus student housing options.

“More options can lead to more competitive rates,” Sheikhzeinoddin said.

Though Sheikhzeinoddin said she would’ve been interested in a development in the Hargrove area, she still thinks proximity to campus is first priority when students look to live off campus.

“I think students look for location,” she said. “I know that was a big selling factor for me and my roommates. I feel like by staying close to campus, you feel more connected to the University.”

She said she recognizes students aren’t always respectful of the Tuscaloosa community off-campus.

“Sometimes it’s hard for college students to realize that there are actual Tuscaloosa dwellers who aren’t students,” Sheikhzeinoddin said. “I think we assume everyone around us are college students, so they don’t mind the loud music or parties.”

Pate also said he thinks it’s important the student voice is also kept in mind when rebuilding Tuscaloosa.

“The student voice is an important voice, and the student needs are important needs,” he said. “You have to be able to offer an experience that meets their wants and needs.”

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