Council denies zoning change for senior community
Monday, 19 March 2012 by Matthew Girard
A proposed 80-unit senior living rental community won't be coming to Belton any time in the near future.
During Tuesday night's regularly scheduled City Council meeting, a proposed ordinance to amend the zoning of a 6-acre tract on River Fair Boulevard near the Stoney Brook of Belton Assisted Living Center to allow a higher density population failed to field a motion and didn't pass.
The proposed Manor at River Fair by Prestwick Development Company LLC was an 80-unit facility designed to accommodate older residents (ages 55 and up) with an income between approximately $20,000 and $27,000 as part of the state's Tax-Credit program.
Prestwick, along with the owners of the land were requesting to have the zoning changed from Single Family-2 to an amended Planned Development District. The current Single Family-2 zoning allows one single family, detached home on each lot, which would allow about 30 homes on the 6-acre tract.
Last week, The Planning and Zoning Commission recommended to approve the ordinance 5-3, but several citizens from the surrounding neighborhood raised concerns about the change due to adding more people and traffic to the area.
Although some spoke in favor of the ordnance, citing the need for this type of housing and the addition to the tax roll, the majority of the comments were negative of the proposed change.
A representative of the River Fair Village Towne Home Association said residents were opposed to the change because the increased population density and traffic concerns.
"Based on the zoning, we bought our home there," he said. "Now, what's happening is that you want to re-zone the whole area. Everything that has been planned has been followed up by the city. If you allow this to change, you might have a problem with other communities in Belton."
Council member John Agan, along with five other council members, expressed concerns about putting the rental community in that location.
"Going from 30 to 80 units is a game changer for this development," Agan said. "It's not that this can't be rezoned and not that we don't have the legal right to do it, but I do think that there is an issue on how this was done originally and agreed upon on what made sense at that time. I think what's being proposed here is a significant change to the balance of the area."
After the discussion, Mayor Jim Covington asked for a motion to either approve or deny the ordinance, but no motion was made by any of the council members. Council member David K. Leigh recused himself from the agenda item.
In other business, the council approved the appointment of Francisco Corona as the new Chief of the Belton Fire Department.
The city conducted a national search with a Texas focus, with a team of city staff and Pittman McLenagan Group-developed process which identified core competencies needed for the position.
Corona is a Temple College graduate with an Associate's Degree in Fire Protection, Technology and Business Management. In 2010, he graduated with honors from the University of Phoenix-Austin with a degree in Business Management, and is currently attending TAMU-Central Texas to complete an MBA.
He joined the Temple Fire and Rescue Department in 1981 and has served in a variety of roles since.