By Betsy Dolan
Residents who oppose the construction of 325 luxury apartments in Sugar Land’s historic area as part of the Imperial Development project vow to put a referendum to voters that would impose restrictions on all future apartments in Sugar Land that are proposed near residential areas. The move comes after the Sugar Land City Council voted 6-1 in favor of building the apartments after a lengthy public hearing during their regular meeting on April 3.
“I believe this issue has been the proverbial wake up call for the residents of Sugar Land who mistakenly believed that they had a representative government,” said Yocel Alonso, who lives in the historic district and is one of the members of the Imperial Redevelopment Committee who oppose the apartments. “As such, the issue is now much bigger than the apartments in our historic district.”
According to information on the Sustainable Sugar Land web site where details about the referendum are located, the Power of Referendum Petition takes issue with high-density multi-family development “that encroaches on existing residential neighborhoods and threatens to diminish our quality of life, further congest our roadways and overburden our schools.” In addition to the 625 apartments proposed in the historic area and near Constellation Field, the referendum names 600 apartments near Palm Royale Blvd, and 400 apartments in Telfair as being too close to single family homes. The referendum aims to change multi-family zoning regulations to restrict apartments to no more than 200 dwelling units and to prohibit any multi-family construction and multi-story parking garages within one mile of a single family home.
“We only need 1,800 signatures or 900 households to put this on the ballot for the citizens of Sugar Land to vote on,” Alonso said. “We believe strongly that a majority of the citizens of Sugar Land will put an end to our Mayor and Council’s betrayal of the public’s trust.”
The Imperial Apartment issues has been a contentious one in recent months as those who oppose the apartments say elected officials are ignoring their concerns. The 325 apartments, contend city officials, are a reduction from the initial plan and the apartments are needed to sustain’s the city’s future growth.
Three hundred apartments have also been proposed near Constellation Field.
Editor’s note: Also see Guest Editorial on this subject on our website www.leaderprints.com.