Neighbors on Palmer Street speak out against Notre Dame expansion plans

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NOTRE DAME, Ind. --- Neighbors on Palmer Street are speaking out against expansion plans for Notre Dame.

The university which is set to replace empty lots into additional parking spaces within the neighborhood has some frustrated it could cause unnecessary traffic.

The Marozsan/Smith family has owned property on Palmer Street since the 1920s. Over the years, they’ve never been opposed to expansion plans as the university continued to get closer to their home, but this time they say it’s gone too far.

“We’ve been there for a century. My wife grew up in that house. It was a very small quiet tree lined neighborhood. But, the university has been consuming all of the land, all the way out," said Robert Smith, a resident on Palmer Street.

Palmer Street is a short dead end road falling between two parking lots within Notre Dames campus. It’s where his wife’s family has called home for generations — even before the university built their football stadium. Since then, the university has expanded significantly which they say has caused a parking shortage problem for students and faculty.

“The campus is obviously undergoing a lot of renovations and new buildings. These parking areas are basically replacing some of the ones that are on campus presently," said Mike Danch, a lawyer representing Notre Dame.

The new lots would add a little over 140 parking spots on campus. Originally the university planned to expand on Leahy Drive, but elevation concerns put a stop to those plans moving the project to Palmer Street — which Smith says could be a huge liability concern.

“This is a street with no side walks. No gutters. No curbstones. No drainage. No street lighting so people are going to be hurt," said Smith.

The university shared with the St. Joseph County Council Tuesday night they’re trying to be considerate of those still living on Palmer, but they need the project to move forward to accommodate the growing needs for the campus.

“In order for us to do what you’re seeing here we do have to bring ‘em into conformance with the zoning between you and the university," said Danch.

The St. Joseph County Council passed the parking project Tuesday night.

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