Council to Meet on Facilities, Zoning Hearing

The West U City Council will hold an executive session at 5 p.m. Monday, to discuss issues related to the city’s long-range facilities master plan.

There are two items on the agenda of the executive session, including a presentation from San Antonio attorney Lowell Denton about religious land use in cities and other related matters. Denton is considered a specialist in the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act, which governs the rights of religious institutions. That law, as well as a Texas statute, has figured prominently in discussions of the city’s long-range plan to create a municipal campus, in real estate transactions that could involve West University Baptist Church. The church had proposed building a Youth Center on land it now owns on Amherst St., which would block the city’s plan to create a Super Block of municipal buildings on the block bordered by University Blvd., Auden, Amherst and College Sts.

The council also plans to discuss “matters related to public communications” about the long-range master plan.

The council will meet in regular session at 6:30 p.m. Monday, and the long-range municipal facilities master plan will be on the agenda.

In addition, the council will consider calling a February 9, 2015 joint public hearing with the Zoning and Planning Commission on proposed changes to the city’s zoning ordinance for non-single family properties.

The joint public hearing will be the culmination of a year-long effort by the city to rewrite the zoning ordinance for commercial properties in West U.

Reviewing the non-single family (detached) zoning district provisions has been a long term goal of the council. The city hired consultants from the Kendig Keast Collaborative (KKC) in February of 2014 to take the lead in this task. The consulting firm, led by Gary Mitchell of KKC, reviewed the city’s current ordinances, zoning map, and procedures. A team consisting of staff members, Zoning and Planning Commissioners, and a steering committee held several meetings, including a “driving tour” through the areas included in the study. A series of meetings with focus groups were held to obtain community feedback regarding issues that were considered important while completing the review.

The ZPC held two “town hall” meetings in September and October on the proposed zoning changes.

The proposal includes three major groups of changes to the Town Center Commercial District, modifications to the PDD-TH2 zoning designation along Kirby Drive, and some changes to regulations governing general commercial use properties.