Fred Boykin remind us that the DeVry annexation meeting is this coming Wednesday and sends along the letter again with the announcement.
Devry University is notifying all adjoining property owners within approximately one quarter mile of a proposed annexation and zoning request for the DeVry University campus located on North Arcadia Avenue.
There will be a public meeting on Wednesday, June 24, 2009, from 7:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at the DeVry University campus. Please enter the building from the southern parking lot. Signs will be posted to direct you to the meeting room. Please feel free to attend this meeting should you have any questions regarding this request. If you are unable to attend the meeting and would like to obtain information, please feel free to contact Laurel David at 404-965-3680.
In Fred’s words, “[DeVry] makes Midway look like small change.”
In my opinion, there are two reasons why an 11 parcel Midway annexation has so far drawn more comments than the much larger DeVry “mixed-use” parcel. One is the palpable concern about grade school enrollment among the general population. Two is that the DeVry parcel is currently without a site plan and therefore we do not yet know the potential impact, unlike the family-magnet, detached housing on Midway.
All we know about DeVry thus far is that they’ve decided they want to be annexed by Decatur and that they want the property rezoned as “mixed-use.” And while mixed-use implies a greater degree of density in comparison to a mind-nubbing subdivision, there is still pretty good potential for some single-family, detached homes. (see page 49 of this document for the mixed-use ordinance)
However, a lack of detail shouldn’t mean that we don’t plan ahead. Nothing is more hopeless than complaining about something after the fact. Once we accept DeVry into the fold and approve their zoning change, we’re essentially saying, yes you can develop according to our new zoning ordinance. So, we need to perform our due diligence now, when we can still have a say in the matter.
I think many friends of smart-growth would agree that Decatur would be better off with a “town-center” plan on DeVry, instead of another subdivision or office park. However, if the past is any indication, school enrollments have a way of taking over every annexation conversation. Therefore, what we should determine right off the bat is how much wiggle room the new CSD reconfiguration plan will provide the city. Can we accommodate projected student growth from within the existing city limits and new enrollments from a DeVry annexation plan?
There’s a lot more to consider here than just student enrollment: taxes, development patterns, etc. However, knowing these key enrollment figures upfront will ultimately make it easier to get over the initial CSD hurdle, before moving onto other important – but less politically potent – considerations.