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Tent City Given Zoning Change, Can Remain in Current Location

Cole Shooter

An area known as “Tent City” will be allowed to remain right where they are at.

At their meeting Thursday, the Lubbock City Council overturned a denial by the City’s Planning and Zoning Commission, allowing Tent City to remain at its current location at 13th Street and Avenue A.

The zoning for that particular spot has been changed to specific use, allowing for transient housing.

Stipulations agreed upon by the council include the Tent City to remain in its current location for 30 months, and within that time period, construction on a more permanent shelter must be underway in order to keep the specific use zoning.

Conditions in order to be allowed the specific use zoning by the council also include a privacy fence around the perimeter of the property within 120 days, as well as improved restroom, shower, and laundry facilities in the nearby former office building within the next 6 months. Also, the west quarter of the former cotton gin structure will likely be equipped with electrical power, radiant heating, and evaporative cooling system, following approval from the property owner.

If these conditions are not met, the area will revert back to the prior zoning code.

Les Burrus, Director of Link Ministries, the sponsors of Tent City, discussed some of their guidelines with the Council.

“We’re not opposed to building another type of facility to have it as a transitional move up process, but the tents are a very big part of the success we’ve had”, Burrus said.

“I would like to see us build some housing. The plans are, within three months of entering that kind of housing, they have a plan in place, they have a job, and they’re starting to save money in order to get into an apartment or another type of housing. Otherwise, they would revert back to tents”, he continued.

Chuck Chapman, owner of CC Electric, located across the street from Tent City, said that he was originally against the zoning changes, but since changed his mind.

Chapman choked up as he read Matthew 25:33, the bible verse which he said changed his mind on the issue. He continued, saying “We’ve had no problems with the people across the street…I also think the activity will make it better in that part of town.”

A minimum of 6 of the 7 votes on the council were required to overturn the Commission’s decision. The council overturned the ruling 6-0, Councilman Paul Beane absent.

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