Residents, city leaders at odds over additions in Sherman neighborhood

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SHERMAN -- Two dozen Sherman residents claim their Cleveland Avenue neighborhood will be ruined if duplexes are allowed to be built there. On Monday, Sherman leaders decided to allow that construction to continue.

One by one, concerned neighbors took the stand at Monday’s meeting, saying the new duplexes violate the College Park Overlay, which states it will protect private property values and public investments in and near Austin College.

City council members voted unanimously to move forward with the construction on Monday morning, which has already begun on Cleveland Avenue.

Builder and Sherman native Benny Risner says he plans to build three four-bedroom duplexes.

"First of all, I’d like to see the neighborhood happy and pleased with the final project and the product we put out there"

Construction on the duplexes will continue in the coming months but many residents along this street like Janet Lowry are not happy about the decision to continue the progress here.

"The size of this student colony that was being projected didn't bode well for people’s safety.”

Mayor Bill Magers says the building requirements were met, and no city ordinances were violated because the property is zoned as ‘R-1,’which means either single family dwellings or duplexes can be built there. The duplexes under construction also meet the square footage requirements.

Still, Magers says the council is trying to change these regulations.

"Part of our budget calendar for 2007-2008 is to have a comprehensive plan which will look at all the neighborhoods in Sherman. The hydrology, all the different pieces of the puzzle, which hindsight being 20-20, we should have done along time ago, but we're moving as quickly as possible on the problem."

In the meantime homeowners like Janet Lowry say the College Park Overlay which was put in place to preserve her neighborhood is being overlooked.

"We’re being totally ignored. The market wins. The economy is what matters, not what people who have lived here all their lives feel."

Many residents say they left the meeting Monday with mixed feelings. They say the city made a poor decision but hope this will fuel future changes to city regulations.

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