Properties Grow Larger For 74 Weslayan Homeowners
Residents on a strip of Weslayan Street may be celebrating this week because their properties have become slightly larger, which could increase property values.
People who live on both sides of Weslayan between Riley and Bissonnet Streets can now claim an additional 2.5 feet of land because the city council voted on Monday to give up its right of way in the area. The action affects 74 properties in West University Place.
The city will still retain an utility easement for the strip, and it stands to bring in more in property taxes if residents’ land values increase.
“From what I understand, it will make the properties more valuable because they can count that land in the 80 percent rule,” said Mayor Bob Kelly on Nov. 9, when the council first voted on the issue. This Monday was the second and final vote.
West U. acquired the 2.5 feet from each property owner in 1949 to make roadway improvements that never materialized.
At the Nov. 9 council meeting, West U. resident Dick Yehle suggested the city may want to keep its right of way just in case it wants to widen Weslayan Street at some point in the future. Yehle said the city could possibly construct left-turn lanes on Weslayan near Rice Boulevard.
“I wouldn’t abandon it forever by giving up that property,” Yehle said.
Public Works Director Chris Peifer told the city council that 2.5 feet on both sides of the street wasn’t enough space to construct turn lanes.
“Typically you’ll need 9-to-12 feet for that type of turning action,” Peifer said. After researching the idea further, city staff found that existing utility lines also prevented a safe expansion of the roadway.