Can the red lines be erased with city's 'Plan Lubbock 2040' initiative?
Lubbock has become one of the fastest growing cities in the nation. Since the 2010 census the population has grown 10% and World Population Review indicates this growth will accelerate.
The City of Lubbock is drafting a comprehensive plan focusing on what Lubbock should look like in 2040. It is the most recent land use plan since 1986. But before focusing on the future it's important to address the past.
During the Great Depression the Federal Housing Administration enacted several policies to help families purchase homes providing financial assistance and housing loans.
"That was mainly just for white families it didn't extend to communities of color," said Adam Pirtle, representative of Texas Housers. "In fact the government actually asked banks and other entities to create maps of 239 cities across the country and what they did was this practice they call redlining. They would actually outline in red areas where banks shouldn't lend mortgages to buy homes."
Most of the time these red line areas would line up exactly where communities of color lived, particularly African Americans. It essentially discouraged investments in black communities, causing a series of effects still relevant today. Businesses would not invest in these neighborhoods. Healthcare, education, public transportation, infrastructure, clean environments were all impacted.
The federal government desegregated housing policies with the Fair Housing Act of 1968.
"To make sure people could have housing choice," said Pirtle. "Live where they want to live, make sure that communities had equal resources. Make sure that those past wrongs we just talked about were mitigated and solved."
The City of Lubbock is currently working on what it calls Plan Lubbock 2040. It's the new comprehensive land use plan serves as a road map for future growth. Texas Housers and the Legal Aid of North West Texas have been conducting research and working closely with neighborhood associations from both north and east Lubbock. The biggest concern is land maps.
"With the interim land use plan that came about in about January of this year, that map didn't change. It showed industrial zoning in that same area and even expanding some, so they wanted to make sure you know that their voice was heard that they don't want that in their neighborhood," said Mark Oualline, with the Legal Aid of North West Texas. "There are better places it can go and that it isn't backing up to their communities, they are not bearing the brunt of what comes along with industrial uses like pollution, noise, decrease property value things like that."
The city's hoping to compensate with investments in those neighborhoods, namely, $1.3 million towards residential streets. Jeff Griffith, city council member for district three, said the city council is currently working on rehabilitating homes in both north and east Lubbock.
"We are putting city council funded oil and gas revenue back into those homes," said Griffith. "We've already done not quite 25 houses, and we are trying to improve those neighborhoods just in those two districts."
The city's working on a Citibus study to improve public transportation and plans to open a police sub station on the east side. Over the course of a year and a half the Comprehensive Planning Advisory Committee developed 10 core ideas and 16 priorities. These lead into recommendations to the city's Planning and Zoning Commission.
The city council expects to hear the Plan Lubbock 2040 initiative at its two December meetings. A final vote is expected on December 17.