With tensions high, people packed Tuesday night's Richmond City Commission meeting to sound-off on the re-zoning of the property located at the corner of Lancaster Avenue and Barnes Mill Road. Each side was given 30 minutes to argue their position.
"We believe this is a good project. We believe it solves a lot of issues that are already on the city's plate that nobody else is going to solve. Not another developer will ever come to you and volunteer to do what this developer has volunteered to do at its expense," says attorney Michael Eaves.
"When you put 500 students on that small space, there's going to be problems. It's going to be traffic. It's going to be noise. I think it's going to bring some possibly drug traffic, more burglary and we're concerned about our property values," explains Sherry Short.
After lengthy discussion, the city commission unanimously voted to re-zone the 16 acres of land in and around the Lackey House from single-family residential to multi-family residential, allowing for the construction of a privately-owned student housing complex near Eastern Kentucky University's campus.
"I feel this is a proper project for our community and that's why I voted for it," says Richmond City Commissioner Richard Thomas.
But, not everyone was happy about the decision. Many members of the Barnes Mill Neighborhood Association voiced their opposition.
"It went the wrong way for us but I understand what they did. Hopefully, everything does turn out for the best," says Gary Short.
One of the developers of the complex, Ed Worley, says he hopes that the community will continue to work with them on the property.
"I respect their opinions. I think that if they'll stay engaged and stay involved through the development plan process, we'll continue to build a better project that everybody can be proud of," explains Worley.
The next step will be to finish the development plan and design. The developers hope to start construction this August.