A plan to convert a South Lawrence trailer park into a development that will have nearly 1,000 bedrooms for local college students is set for a key vote at Lawrence City Hall.
City commissioners on Tuesday will consider approving a variety of rezoning and permit applications for Aspen Heights, a proposed development that will convert the Gaslight Mobile home village into a unique complex of about 300 student apartments.
But the project, proposed by an Austin, Texas-based development firm, won’t feature traditional, large apartment buildings. Instead, developers are proposing 304 house-like structures — each with two to four bedrooms — over a 40-acre site.
“We know that students like to feel like they are at home,” said Charlie Vatterott, executive vice-president of development for Aspen Heights.
But the development will cause residents of the Gaslight Village to find new homes.
“The developers have said that people could stay until the end of the school year,” said Tom Horner III, an executive with Edwardsville-based Mid-America Manufactured Housing Communities, the trailer park’s ownership group. “I think it will be after June 1 because you can’t really expect people to end school and then move that next week or so.”
Horner said his company is committed to paying the moving costs of residents who want to relocate their mobile home to a nearby Lawrence mobile home park.
Horner estimated there are more than 200 vacant lots at Lawrence mobile home parks and fewer than 130 mobile homes will be affected by the sale of Gaslight. He said that number is shrinking because people already are beginning to find other living accommodations.
City commissioners are being asked to approve several aspects of the development. Details of the plan include:
• Rezoning the 41 acres of the Gaslight Village Mobile Home Park — which is just east of the Home Depot/Best Buy development — from single family residential to RM-10 multi-family zoning.
• A mix of housing units that include 118 four-bedroom units, 92 two-bedroom duplexes, and 94 three-bedroom duplex units. All the housing units will be two-stories tall.
“The four-bedroom cottage is basically a 2,200-square-foot house,” Vatterott said. “The two- and three-bedroom duplexes will look a lot like houses you would see in other neighborhoods.”
• Amenities will include a clubhouse and pool, and a multi-use path that will be connected to the existing path at Naismith Valley Park north of the property.
• Off-street parking for 1,230 vehicles.
The project already has won approval from the Lawrence-Douglas County Planning Commission, and the city’s planning staff is recommending approval as well.
If commissioners approve the plans, Vatterott said he hopes to begin construction work later this summer. The project is scheduled to open by August 2013.
Commissioners will consider the plans at their weekly meeting — which due to the Valentine’s Day holiday — is scheduled to begin at 5 p.m. at City Hall.