Midland Housing Development Alley Debate 1/10/14
CBS 7 News
January 10, 2014
Big housing projects are popping up all over Midland/Odessa. One builder hopes to establish a community without alleys but they're experiencing some resistance.
Betenbough Homes has big plans for their 318 acre lot north of Midland on Hwy 349. The Planning and Zoning Commission disapproved the Lone Star Trails Subdivision.
[CG:2LINE\Housing Development Alley Debate\Midland]
[CG:2LINE\Steve Thorpe\Building Official - City of Midland]
Curing a housing crisis should be as simple as building more homes but, one local home-builder is being met with some resistance.
Many developers are going to the alley free model.
We spoke to owner Ron Betenbough, he says eliminating alleys leaves room for one additional home per acre. But City Councilman Scott Dufford fears the high density of homes and cars could become a safety issue.
He says the streets could become congested, making it hard for city service vehicles to navigate the roads.
The Legends Park neighborhood, also built by Betenbough, was originally planned to have alley trash pick up but recently switched to curbside pickup, leaving the alleys vacant.
"From a code enforcement standpoint, unpaved alleys that aren't used on a regular basis by vehicular traffic kind of become the catchall for debris," says Midland Building Official
Thorpe says in the developments where alleys are paved, loose trash has not been as much of an issue.
"I am very in favor of subdivisions with no alleys, especially if the developer planned on doing unpaved," says Thorpe.
City ordinances require developers to have alleys unless they request a variance.
Councilman Dufford says if Betenbough wants to squeeze that many houses into one development, they will have to make some concessions like providing a park or playground space.
No official decision on the Lone Star Trails subdivision will be made until next week's City Council meeting.
If Betenbough Homes is denied approval, they cannot reapply for another year.
Betenbough says he will do whatever's necessary to work with the council.