On Nov. 11, the City Council approved a zoning change for the southern portion of Audelia Heights Apartments. The owners had applied for a change in order to make the zoning conform with the existing land use. No redevelopment of the land is contemplated.

The zoning change was unanimously approved by the Council, due entirely to the fact that the property owner was willing to work with a group of area residents to make Audelia Heights a good neighbor.

These negotiations were a classic example of how a neighborhood can work to direct its future.

When the request for a change of zoning was first made public, community reaction was very negative. Management at the complex had, over a period of several years, become less interested in maintaining the property at a level compatible with adjacent properties and, as a result, had “worn out its welcome.”

With these strong feelings, I was not optimistic that an acceptable compromise could be developed.

As is so often the case, when our community faces a problem, private citizens step forward to find a solution. Area residents Jan Patterson, Debbie Wilks, John Wells, Michael Miles, Ann Keller and Byron Fowler led efforts to develop deed restrictions that clearly defined the community’s expectations in the areas of maintenance and operations.

After extensive discussions with the owner’s representative, agreement was reached in three significant areas – occupancy guidelines, maintenance of the exterior and grounds, and security.

With that accord, the neighbors were able to support the request for a zoning change.

Many thanks to all who participated for your hard work and commitment to our community. It is citizens like you who make Lake Highlands such a special place in which to live.

I would like to take this opportunity to invite you to attend my next Town Hall meeting Thursday, Dec. 3, beginning at 7 p.m. at Lake Highlands North Recreation Center, 9940 White Rock Trail. The agenda will include a discussion of zoning cases and how to be an effective advocate for your position.

I hope to see you there.