City rules in favor of residents over mini-dorms

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TUCSON, Ariz. -- City staff has come to a decision in an ongoing legal battle between Jefferson Park residents and mini dorm developers.

For the first time in years, its decided in favor of neighbors and their fight against multi-family housing developments.

"We rarely win, so I was shocked.  Usually money wins and the little guy loses out," said Bob Schlanger.

This time the little guy is coming out a winner.  Jefferson Park residents winning a big legal victory over mini-dorm developer Michael Goodman.

"It's taken a lot of money and cost a lot of heartache in the neighborhood," said Jefferson Park Resident Jim Clark.

Neighbors are praising the city's zoning administrator's decision, but saying it should have happened long before mini-dorms popped up across town.

Neighbors say massive construction sites are an eye sore in their neighborhood.

"They've ruined the neighborhood," said Schlanger.

"It's criminal and this should have been addressed years ago," said Clark.

City staff ruled mini-dorms violate city code because it's multi-family housing on land zoned for single family residences.

Neighbor's credit council member Karin Uhlich for leading the way against mini-dorms.

"City staff should have made this decision 10 years ago," said Councilman Steve Kozachik.

But Councilman Kozachik questions why now, when nothing in the city's land use code has changed in years.

"Either they were wrong 10 years ago, or they were wrong today.  You cant have it both ways," said Kozachik.

And being wrong, could come at a price.

"If the decision is wrong, then the cities gonna get the crap sued out of it," said Kozachik.

What's clear, is the fight is far from over.  There's lots of legal wrangling left to do in a fight for these small neighborhoods.

"We've won round one.  There could be twenty rounds.  We don't know how long the fight is," said Schlanger.

Developer Michael Goodman has 29 days to appeal the ruling.