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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Zoning examiner recommends Main Gate balcony ban to Tucson City Council in his report

Darien Bakas
Citizens sign in at a zoning hearing on Thursday, June 16 at City Hall in Tucson, Arizona.

The zoning examiner has given his recommendation to the Tucson City Council concerning the use of balconies on any future infrastructure built in the Main Gate District.

In his preliminary report, zoning examiner Jim Mazzocco recommended that all balcony use be prohibited in any future multi-story group dwellings in the area.

RELATED: Column: To protect Islamic Center we need education, not nets

The seven-page recommendation stems from a variety of safety concerns regarding students misusing highrise housing balconies. Since 2014, there have been multiple tenants evicted from high rise properties in the Main Gate District due to objects being thrown from balconies — specifically at Islamic Center of Tucson and multiple other buisnesses that live in the shadow of the buildings.

In his report he stated that the recent student behavior is a problem that should be addressed.

“The dangers and nuisance caused by immature student behavior has raised the focus on this otherwise benign architectural feature as a point of community concern,” Mazzocco said.

Mazzocco said that future student housing sites should use the same architecture structure as UA campus dormitories.

” … the university has set a precedent of not having balconies on its dormitories,” Mazzocco said, “it seems that standard could also apply to future private group dwellings in the same area.”

For the structures currently occupied, Mazzocco said the housing managers should engage regularly with neighboring associations and the Islamic Center of Tucson, where many of the past discriminatory incidents have occurred.

He added that incidents of tossing objects from elevated balconies and yelling hate speech has already transpired and it would be unfortunate if a person were to lose their life due to immature actions.

RELATED: New high rises cast long shadow

Before making his recommendation, Mazzocco listened to citizens express their opinions about the proposed amendment at a public hearing on June 16.

At the public meeting the examiner heard speakers’ opinions from the West University Association and the Islamic Center of Tucson, all of whom encouraged the zoning examiner to recommend the proposed balcony ban.

His full report, which includes all the documentation presented to the zoning examiner, will be given to the Mayor and city council members to review.

The last step in the process will then be a final vote in the council chambers likely held in August.

Follow Shaq Davis on Twitter.

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