Planning and Zoning discusses preservation ordinance
Monday, 05 March 2012 by Matthew Girard
In the interest of doing the "right thing," the City of Belton Planning and Zoning Commission tabled possible amendments to the Heritage Preservation Overlay District Ordinance during the commission's monthly meeting Tuesday night at the Harris Community Center.
With the moratorium about to end on March 31, City Manager asked the commissioners to table the "red-line" amendments to the original ordinance in order for the staff to look further into the possible changes.
"We are continuing in an information gathering mode," Listi said. "What was originally presented as a red-line ordinance was certainly our best faith effort at the time to address the situation, may not be the right thing. It might not be the best thing right now."
Last July, the Belton City Council approved a moratorium on the Heritage Preservation Board ordinance to change the appeal procedure to the Council instead of District Court.
In addition to the change of the appeals process, other corrections and clarifications were also noted but after consultation, Listi said that the ordinance needs further investigation.
"The council has expressed the desire to do the right thing," Listi said. "That may take a little more time. Our goal is to do the right thing, not just something."
Although some expressed concerns about the proposed changes to the ordinance, University of Mary Hardin-Baylor President Dr. Randy O'Rear said the university also wants to "do the right thing."
"I think the evidence speaks for itself that Mary Hardin-Baylor cares deeply about historical preservation," O'Rear said. "I think you can walk through the campus and see that we care deeply about preserving history.
"Mary Hardin-Baylor has been joined at the hip with the City of Belton since 1886. As the university grows and continues to thrive, we have to make decisions about how we expand and how we do that in the best possible manner."
The commission then voted unanimously (8-0) to table consideration of the proposed changes in order to form a sub-committee (made up of members of the P&Z Commission, Heritage Preservation Board and others) to take a closer look at the current ordinance.
In other business, the Commission held a public hearing concerning a proposed zoning change from Planned Development to an amended Planned Development District for The Manor at River Fair, which is an 80-unit senior living rental community.
The proposed community is specifically for low to moderate income seniors (age 55 and above) that would be located on River Fair Boulevard east and north of Stoney Brook.
Although several citizens expressed concerns of the proposed change based on higher density traffic and other factors, the Commission approved the zoning change with a 5-3 vote. With the vote, the Commission is recommending that the zone change be approved by the City Council.