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City planners consider Baylor's growth

Oct. 6, 2000

Officials focus on residents' needs

By ALANA LYONS

Reporter

City officials are seeking improved communication between Baylor and the city of Waco. City Council member Alice Flores recently expressed her concerns over the effects Baylor's growth has on residents in District 2.

'I understand the growth and support it, but we have to be cognizant that there are homeowners that have a right to live in peaceful and quiet neighborhoods,' Flores said.

Flores, who has represented District 2 since 1991, said she has received numerous complaints from residents concerning Baylor students' parties and speeding. Problems, she said, will only increase as more apartment complexes are built to accommodate Baylor's growing student population.

'I don't know what to tell constituents about the intrusiveness of Baylor into their area,' Flores said. 'I understand that students need housing, but we need to consider residents who aren't going anywhere.'

Because most of the residential areas in the district are specified to be low in density, residents said they are also concerned that Baylor's growth will cause the city to alter these plans to allow for more apartment complexes.

'Neighborhoods know they cannot disrupt progress,' Flores said. 'So, we need to be more careful of what we are doing to the community when we approve construction.'

At a recent city council meeting, City Manager Kathy Rice suggested a comprehensive effort to help solve these problems.

'We need to have a plan around Baylor,' Rice said. 'We also need to have their plan. If they're going to grow, they need to make an orderly plan.'

Mayor Linda Etheridge suggested changing the city's current plan to take into account Baylor's growth.

Ken Simons, assistant vice president and business manager, said Baylor is currently building on land owned by the university, and there are no plans to expand farther than Ninth Street.

'It is hard for us to control how many rental buildings are constructed,' Simons said. 'It is a matter of supply and demand.'

Flores, however, said awareness is the key to helping relations between Baylor and local citizens.

'If students are aware of the concerns, maybe one out of 10 will respect them, and that's more than we have now,' Flores said. 'My concern is my constituents, and whether Baylor likes it or not, I represent them,' she said.

Flores will meet with several Baylor representatives to discuss these and other issues within District 2.