New found support for creating ‘College Towns’ like other universities



Nick Lowrey

The SDSU Students Association passed a resolution Monday to support the creation of a campus town neighborhood south of campus.

The idea is similar to communities that already exist around schools like the University of Minnesota, Kansas State University and the University of Iowa. SA hopes for the community to develop a ‘downtown’ atmosphere and include commercial businesses on the ground floors of buildings and apartments on the upper floors.

SA President Mark York was one of the key sponsors of the resolution, having visited many campuses with the so-called campus town communities. According to many in the SA there is a severe lack of activities for underage students to do around campus. The hope is that once the community is established students will choose to stay in Brookings instead of traveling to Sioux Falls to find things to do.

“It would be mutually beneficial,” said Jameson Berreth, SA’s state and local government committee chair.

SA pinned its hopes to Brookings City Council resolution number 43-12, which would amend the city’s 2020 comprehensive plan and re-zone an area south of campus, for the first time since 1966, to commercial use. The city’s planning commission recommended that the council re-zone the area into two parts.

The first part is the area between Medary Ave. and 14th street, but north of seventh street. This area would be zoned as high density residential, which would allow apartments to be built in the area. Those apartments would also be subject to a certain architectural guideline, according to the planning commission’s plan.

The second area the plan would re-zone consists of the area north of sixth street between Medary Ave. and 14th street. This area would be zoned for commercial use and would be subject to enhanced landscape requirements as well.

The City Council had originally slated a vote on the plan for its Feb. 28 meeting. The vote, however, was delayed by a miss print on the public notice. The notice failed to specify the location of the project and was deemed inadequate. The vote was moved to the next regularly scheduled council meeting.

The planning commission’s plan falls somewhat short of York’s vision for the future neighborhood.

“I’d like to see it zoned for mixed use,” he said.

There was no discussion of mixed zoning in the commission’s plan, though York claims that there are developers looking to build mixed-use complexes given the opportunity.

Berreth put SA’s vision into context.

“This is not something that will happen quickly,” he said. “It will be a long 15 year process or so.”

Current residents of the area that would face re-zoning were given the chance to voice their opinion via a questionnaire distributed to them in Feb. 2011. Nine out of ten respondents said they would accept some commercial expansion into the area. 79 percent of them said they would support the building of apartments.