Mega-Dorm growth worries neighbors

Seeking ways to reduce impact

TUCSON, Ariz - There has been a big boom in big buildings near UA ---most of them for student housing.  That has neighborhood leaders nearby asking the city to find ways to make sure those places are good neighbors.

In the past few years, thousands of new neighbors moved into the neighborhoods just west of UA. They are students, in huge high rise dorms.

Chris Gans of the West University Neighborhood Association says, “They have all the rooftop amenities and that noise goes off into neighborhoods to the west and to the north and it really impacts the quality of life for people who live there, who invested there, lived there for decades and some people have told me, they can't even go on their front porch some times of the day."
      
Chris Gans says it's driven some residents to move out.

The need and the market for more student housing have made this giant building boom continue to boom and there's no real sign of it leveling off.
         
Chris Gans wants the University and city government to work to diversify the area to include more of a mix of businesses and housing for other groups. 
         
Most of the development is in Councilmember Steve Kozachik's ward.  He says if an area already zoned to allow high-density development the city's can't legally re-zone to prevent a big building.

He says,  "And that's why we have to be making sure we're working with the developers to be sure they're in contact with the neighborhoods and they're talking about things like traffic and set-backs and so they're not just building a fifteen story tower immediately next to a single-family residence."
      
Kozachik says as incentives the city can offer breaks on some city building requirements in return for developers making changes that mitigate a building's impact.  
     
He says developers based in Tucson have been sensitive to how a building can affect a neighborhood. 
     
But he says out of state developers build many of the biggest buildings and they can be less sensitive to their impact on the neighbors around them.

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