A city panel is expected to take another look at Highlands University’s plans for a three-story residence hall, a project that would close Washington Avenue.
Last week, the city Planning and Zoning Commission delayed making a decision on the plan for the 100,000-square-foot hall, which would take up two acres. Members said they wanted more study of the traffic impact, among other issues.
Since then, Highlands University has responded to the commission with a letter, saying a traffic study wasn’t needed because the new residence hall would house 284 students while a previous highrise in the same place contained as many as 320.
Highlands is on a tight timetable for construction, with a goal of opening the dorms by the fall semester in 2009. School officials requested a special meeting of Planning and Zoning, so the dorm project wouldn’t be delayed.
The commission has set such a meeting for 4 p.m. Monday at City Hall.
In a letter to the commission, Marisol Miranda-Greene, Highlands’ director of facilities and planning, said Washington Avenue was closed off from 1986 to 2004 for campus safety reasons. She stated that it was reopened in 2004 because of the planned demolition of the highrise, which happened last year.
Asked how Highlands has involved the public in the project, Miranda-Greene stated that the school held a town hall with students and the campus community in late November.
Members of the commission have questions about how Washington’s closure would affect traffic. They suggested the use of a nearby alleyway for traffic as a way of helping with the problem, especially near the Early Childhood Center, which is part of the Las Vegas City Schools.
Alex Aragon, the commission’s chairman, said residents in the area of the project were concerned that traffic would increase.
“Some people who spoke during the meeting said they weren’t informed about the project. We asked Highlands to meet with people in the general area,” he said.
Highlands officials said they wanted to build the dorms to make the university more attractive for students.