Hillcrest neighborhood looks to end 8-year battle over rezoning

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ABILENE Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – Since 2013, Prairie Song, LLC has proposed multiple construction projects to occupy the land they own on the northernmost point of the Hillcrest neighborhood in North Abilene.

Time and time again, a majority of the neighborhood has shown up in opposition to the plans, citing two major issues.

Proposal graphic for re-zoning of plots.

“The first was multifamily at the back of the established neighborhood with narrow twisting roads. The other was a proposed connection from our neighborhood to I-20,” says neighborhood organizer and resident Carmen Price.

Since its inception decades ago, the Hillcrest neighborhood has been a fairly quiet one in which families settle down and grow into, according to longtime residents. Although even more recent residents agree that the connection of I-20 to their Campus Court road would vastly change the feel, and in their opinion, safety of the community.

“We moved into this neighborhood for the fact that it was so quiet, and it was kind of cloistered off, and didn’t have a thoroughfare all the way through,” says Amanda Gutierrez, who moved to Hillcrest with her husband and two children in Jan. 2021.

At a July 6 Planning and Zoning meeting, many Hillcrest residents showed up to voice their concerns about Prairie Song’s newest proposal, which would rezone the connecting land into single family residential plots, and the northern lot into mid-density housing such as apartments or duplexes.

“I think what is being proposed is the best-case scenario for the neighborhood, as long as we can keep the restriction,” said Price.

Though happy that the land directly adjacent to them will not house apartments, neighbors still want assurance that a highway through road will never be built into their community.

“In writing or in some manor that we know it will be done that way,” said Hillcrest resident Tammy Walker.

Though Gutierrez is relatively new to the neighborhood, she says she’s excited to get involved in such an active and caring group.

“I’m glad that we live in a neighborhood that’s more of a community. It’s not just people living near each other, but people living with each other,” said Gutierrez

The Item will go before Abilene City Council two more times: July 29 and again on Aug. 12 for public comment.

Neighborhood organizers hope that the latter will be heavily attended by concerned neighbors.

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