Council says yes to Marriott, no to Atmos

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Updated: 6/21/2012 11:24 pm

By a 5-2 vote, the City Council gave the go-ahead for a Courtyard by Marriott Hotel to be built in the Jackson Neighborhood.

Councilmen Victor Hernandez and Floyd Price opposed it, arguing District 1 residents didn't have enough time to gather the facts and weigh-in on the zoning matter.

Terry Holeman with Hugo Reed and Associates said he understands that the project represents a big change for the neighborhood.

"That whole area is built as residential today, even though it's identified as future commercial, and that was adopted by City Council in 2006. This is the first guy on the block and anybody would be a bit curious to know what's going to be coming in," Holeman said.

The hotel site is between Avenue V and Vernon, and between Marsha Sharp freeway and 3rd street.

Also Thursday, the council gave a resounding no to a request by Atmos Energy for a rate hike.

The natural gas utility proposed increases that would mean a 12.35 percent jump in an average Lubbock resident's monthly bill. That equates to about $5.15 more.

Councilman Hernandez said it's too much.

"They're looking to recoup $11 million dollars on the backs of the people who pay their monthly utility bill, and we've always had to fight Atmos in terms of what they allow and what we allow in terms of legitimate expenses associated with their operations," Hernandez said.

He said the city will continue to try to negotiate with Atmos, which is expected to appeal the decision to the Texas Railroad Commission.

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