Northeast Tarrant

North Texas neighborhood won’t have boarding houses for Christian students ... for now

This is one of two homes on Spring Drive in Watauga proposed to become a boarding house for students at Lifestyle Christianity University, but the request was withdrawn Tuesday.
This is one of two homes on Spring Drive in Watauga proposed to become a boarding house for students at Lifestyle Christianity University, but the request was withdrawn Tuesday. Courtesy

A woman who owns two homes in a newly developed neighborhood withdrew her zoning request late Tuesday afternoon to operate boarding houses for students attending nearby Lifestyle Christianity University.

Deborah Smith, who owns the homes, did not return phone calls seeking comment.

Laci Kelly Loya, who lives across the street from the homes in the Parkview neighborhood, said she was glad the request was withdrawn but wondered if it could be brought back.

“I hope that this means that she (Smith) realizes that we don’t want this. It’s not about that we are against Christianity, we just want our single-family homes,” Kelly Loya said.

Smith wanted the zoning change because she leases the homes to students attending Lifestyle Christianity University, located on the site of the Harvest Church at 7200 Denton Highway.

The unaccredited university, founded by evangelist Todd White, teaches people how to spread Christ’s love and teachings throughout the world.

Smith told the Star-Telegram previously that she is not affiliated with Lifestyle Christianity, but follows its teachings and ministry.

“I wanted to help provide a place for students to live who were traveling around the country,” Smith said. “I created a home for them with a Christian environment. They would live in a unified environment with other like-minded people.”

Smith added that she does not allow smoking, drinking or street drugs on her properties. Smith said she did not realize that the houses would be considered boarding houses under Watauga’s zoning requirements.

The Watauga Planning and Zoning Commission had planned to consider the request at its Tuesday meeting.

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