Council plays it safe on annexation zoning

By BRUCE ALSOBROOK | News-Telegram Managing Editor

Apr. 4, 2007 - Sulphur Springs City Council members decided to play it safe Tuesday night when rezoning several tracts in areas annexed last year.

Council members approved second and final readings of zoning classifications for 14 tracts in the annexation area, generally in properties south of Interstate 30 between State Highway 19 and Arbala Road (FM 2297).

Most of the areas were west of Arabala Road near Vaughn Drive and Majors road and were all zoned for single family residences.

Some properties had areas that were appropriate for both commercial and residential use, but council members chose to go with the more restrictive single family zoning for now.

The zoning can later be changed after the properties are platted in the future.

For one tract on SH 19, for example, the city's staff had recommended a light commercial designation, but the site's potential for residential development gave some council members pause.

"Are we opening ourselves to a use that could cause a furor some day?" asked Councilman Clay Walker.

Vance said most of the property was appropriate for commercial development, although parts of the tract could be used for residential homes.

"Could they put a trucking operation in light commercial?" Walker asked.

Vance responded that it was possible, but depended on the type of operation. Another Pilot Travel Center, for example, wouldn't qualify, in part because it is open 24 hours. Light commercial zoning prohibits businesses that are open all night or create noxious odors or excessive noise.

Walker said he had to oppose the commercial designation. If part of the land was appropriate for residential use, the council should play it safe and zone it as such, and let commercial zoning designations be handled under future requests.

Councilman Chris Brown supported that strategy.

"I can see where the staff is coming from, but I'm like you, Clay — I'd rather see us go single family," he said.

Notes: The council approved a specific use request for Judy's Kitchen, a move that would allow owner Judy Gilreath to seek a license to sell wine at the location. Gilreath is working on plans to morph Judy’s Kitchen into "J’s Bistro" at night, which would serve wine with evening meals on Thursdays and Fridays initially, and later on Saturdays. Wine would not be avaialable at Judy's Kitchen during daytime meals ... Properties at 300 West Beckham St. and 340 Putman St. were ordered to be demolished within 30 days. The latter brought words of thanks from neighboring property owners, who said they'd been trying to get the city to do something about the property for 10 years ... City Manager Marc Maxwell was given the go-ahead to make an offer to buy property at 225 South Davis St. The property could be used to solve a drainage problem behind city hall by rerouting the drainage system.

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