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Arizona officials urge university to follow zoning laws

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TUCSON, Ariz. — City officials are urging the University of Arizona to follow local zoning laws while it plans for a new dorm.

The Tucson City Council sent a letter drafted by City Attorney Mike Rankin to the university, its private partner American Campus Communities and the Board of Regents Tuesday asking them to work within the city’s zoning regulations, the Arizona Daily Star reported. The university plans to build a 1,000-bed honors dorm on land owned by it and its partner.

The university wants to have the dorm opened by the fall of 2018, according to the report.

Mayor Jonathan Rothschild hopes the city council’s action will facilitate dialogue on the proposal between the city and university officials.

The partner, a Texas-based student housing developer, proposed to build a similar dorm in the past, said City Councilman Steve Kozachik. Those plans fell through during the regular zoning process, according to the report.

Kozachik sees this new project with the university as the developer’s attempt to continue with the project without a public process. As a state-run entity, the university is not legally required to follow Tucson’s zoning rules.

“They need to go through the process like everybody else does,” he said.

University spokesman Chris Sigurdson said the university is working with a neighborhood association and with homeowners living within the project’s area.

“Moving forward, we certainly would work in close cooperation with the city and the residents and comply with all applicable laws,” he said.

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