Crestline Apartments

Bulldozers start on the land on the corner of Clinton Parkway and Crestline Drive, which had previously been a potential spot for a student apartment complex.

After the city rejected a proposal to build a student apartment complex building on Crestline Drive and Clinton Parkway, lot owner Iowa Street Associates decided to bulldoze the trees, upsetting Lawrence Child Development Center.   

Gilbane Development terminated their contract with Iowa Street Associates after the city's Planning and Development Services rejected its comprehensive plan, said Kenneth Prost, assistant director of Lawrence Child Development Center. Then this caused Iowa Street Associates to “retaliate”  by removing the trees, he said. Now that the trees are gone, the center will have to purchase shade structures, which may cause them to raise prices for the families who use the center.

Teresa Prost, executive director of the Lawrence Child Development Center, said the loss of the trees has affected her daycare. The daycare relied on the trees for shade and protection. 

“It has damaged the children’s safety,” she said. “Before we would have shade, and now we don't have shade.”

The company bulldozed the daycare’s mulberry tree, which they used to teach the children about mulberries and wildlife.

“We had a beautiful mulberry tree that they [children] were learning about,” she said.

The trees adjacent to the center also helped prevent the center from flooding, Teresa said.

“The other damage is they could have flooded the playground,” she said.

Teresa said she was reluctant to having a student apartment complex nearby because of limited space in the neighborhood. Teresa said putting 522 students in the neighborhood would have been chaotic and caused a lot of traffic.

Another concern for Teresa was the children’s safety and privacy, especially when they are on the playground.

“How much do we have to control our playground before we let our children out?” she said. “We might find things that shouldn't be there.”  

Becky Pepper, a planner with the city's Planning and Development Services, said student housing can generate more problems for residents than non-student housing.

“Placed in the right context, multi-family housing can be quite compatible with surrounding uses,” Pepper said in an email. “Student housing, in particular, can be accompanied by greater levels of traffic, activity and noise than non-student housing, which can impact the quiet enjoyment of surrounding property owners if the type of housing differs substantially.”

Prost said she was not against the developers building on the land but disagreed with the developers changing the city’s regulations to accommodate its interests and not the interests of the neighborhood. Prost said she would not have opposed them to building single-family housing or offices.

“We were not opposed for them to develop,” she said. “Build for what it is zoned for.”

Pepper said the Planning and Development Services does not know what the future plans for the property are.

Recommended for you