UP City Council Vote Favors SMU’s New Zoning Plan

September 9, 2010 by · Comments Off 

By Chandler Schlegel

In a unanimous vote the University Park City Council decided Tuesday to allow SMU to rezone land along North Central Expressway to Mockingbird Lane. In a SMU request to Bob Livingston, UP city manager, Paul J. Ward, SMU’s vice president of legal affairs, requested the council’s approval of a resolution supporting the Municipal Setting Designation.

While the property allows SMU to have a variety of options for expansion on that land such as new dormitories, a community center or Greek housing, SMU officials plan to choose buildings that will complement the nearby George W. Bush Presidential Library.

Instead, SMU is currently hoping to build a recreational area that will include a multipurpose athletic field and indoor and outdoor tennis courts.

The rezoning vote also gives SMU the former site of Chase Bank on Mockingbird Lane, which the university plans to use as a temporary construction office.

SMU still plans to make use of the site south of Mockingbird Lane, however has run into problems since the City of Dallas owns the land while SMU owns the Mrs. Bairds factory on that property. The university is hoping to receive a municipal setting designation for the land to develop the site further.

Plans to install tennis courts, an electrical substation and information systems technology station on the site are underway.

The City Council’s vote is non-binding and must be reviewed by state officials, however currently University Park officials support SMU’s effort.

University Park City Council Approves Plan for Bush Library

May 5, 2010 by · Comments Off 

By Halle Organ

A detailed site plan for the George W. Bush Presidential Center was approved by University Park City Council Tuesday night.

The Planned Development Conceptual Site Plan for the construction of the Presidential Center was approved in March, but the Council asked the Planning and Zoning Commission to comply with special conditions before a building permit could be issued.

University Park Chief Planning Official Harry Persaud presented the detailed site plan that entailed these conditions.

One of the conditions required that the plan include a crosswalk across Boedeker Street on SMU Boulevard. Persaud said that a crosswalk will be built and the George W. Bush Foundation will provide minimum standard lighting for safe pedestrian activity near the crosswalk. This will serve as a safety measure for pedestrians walking from the overflow parking lot to the main building.

Furthermore, Persaud said the Bush Foundation is waiting for the Texas Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) to approve of a High-Intensity Activated Crosswalk (HAWK) System to make the crosswalk even safer. The HAWK System allows traffic to flow freely until a pedestrian presses a button, activating a red light to stop cars.

“The HAWK is the highest and best form of pedestrian safety,” Persaud said.

He is positive the Texas MUTCD will approve of it, and the Federal MUTCD already has.

A condition requiring that the Director of Public Works approve the location, design and language of each directional sign was not met. Persaud said the signs had not yet been approved by the director, but will make sure they are taken care of before a building permit is issued.

The initiation of a masonry wall north of the East and West parking facilities was also required in the detailed site plan. Persaud explained that a wall will be built on the east side of Boedeker that will vary between 9 and 10 feet based on the topography of the land. It will be installed before construction on the foundation of the above ground primary structure begins. The parking lots will be built at the same time as the masonry wall.

Councilmember Walker moved to approve the detailed site plan, requiring special attention to the approval of both the directional signs and the HAWK System in the building permit stage.

Video: UP City Council Continues the Bush Library Debate

February 28, 2010 by · Comments Off 

Ruthie Keister

The University Park City Council will continue the public hearing Tuesday about rezoning for a Bush Library parking lot.

Community members are invited to share their feelings about whether or not the Planning and Zoning Committee should rezone residential land to build the lot.

Here is what people told us at the first part of the meeting February 22.
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