Parking problem halts new Fry Street apartment complex
Julia Falcon | Staff Writer
For now, the proposed apartment complex to be built above Voertman’s is at a stand-still while property managers figure out a way to add more parking spots to the Fry Street area.
So far, project officials from EdR, the company wanting to move to Fry, have had trouble finding parking spaces in the already congested area on the north side of campus. EdR planned to partner with UNT to buy some of the school’s parking, but university spokeswoman Margarita Venegas said UNT won’t be sharing parking spaces with any off-campus housing.
Parking is the main concern for the proposed living area that would go above Voertman’s and Subway on Hickory Street.
(UNT made about $1.2 million on parking tickets in 2015)
Brent Erskin, owner of Voertman’s, said he is in favor of the new development and understands the parking issue needs to be resolved. Hearings for the apartment complex were pushed back from both Feb. 16 and March 1, until the deal was withdrawn from the Denton City Council agenda April 5, pending a better parking plan.
“They are trying to find ways to add more parking and are looking for more options,” Erksin said. “At one point they will go back to the planning and zoning committee.”
EdR is headquartered in Memphis, Tennessee. It’s one of the largest collegiate housing owners, developers and managers in the United States. Company officials could not be reached for comment.
Long range planning administrator for the city of Denton, Ron Menguita, said EdR has spent time this year answering questions from people in the neighborhood.
“There are new designs being proposed, and new designs have been back and forth between the design team and city council,” Menguita said. “I know they want another meeting with the community to share new plans but have yet to tell us when that will happen.”
The project planners want the apartment to have 300 bedrooms and 222 off-street parking spaces. The biggest concern of residents is heavier traffic potential traffic on Fry Street and and a strain on already gridlocked parking.
(This apartment complex could change the Fry Street vibe)
Students who park for class as well as customers who frequent the many bars and restaurants in the area already pack the spaces along Fry and Hickory streets to capacity, even spilling over to Highland and South Welch streets.
At the public hearing on April 5 no residents spoke on the matter, but City of Denton manager George Campbell said an entirely new case comes with a withdrawal of consideration. Councilwoman Kathleen Wazny clarified during the meeting that the Fry Street proposal will have to start all over again before it can go back to city council.
“Everything will occur in due course,” City of Denton attorney Anita Burgess said. “There will be a notice of another public hearing as required.”
Menguita’s job on this project is to manage the project and follow through with plans, but agreed parking is the biggest problem at hand.
“Parking is an issue as new development comes in, and in my opinion, UNT and the city need to address it collectively,” Menguita said. “We have been working on this project for some time now, we have listened to the community’s concerns and we want to move forward. The plan is being prepared to discuss parking. We anticipate other development and want to be proactive and prepared for other projects coming in.”
Featured Image: Apartments are proposed to be built where Subway and Voertman’s now stand. Sarah Bradbury | Staff Photographer
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