Council, ZPC to Hold Hearing on Zoning Changes

February 7, 2015

The West University Place City Council and the Zoning and Planning Commission will hold a joint public hearing at 6:30 p.m. Monday, to hear from residents about a proposed new zoning ordinance for the city’s commercial areas.

The proposed changes apply only to non-single family residential properties in West U.

Reviewing the non-single family zoning district provisions has been a long term goal of City Council. The city engaged the Kendig Keast Collaborative a year ago.

Led by consultant Gary Mitchell of KKC, a team consisting of staff members, the ZPC Commissioners and a steering committee have been working on the proposed changes.

A series of meetings with focus groups were held to obtain community feedback regarding issues that were considered important while completing the review. A preliminary draft was presented to the public during two “town hall” meetings held in September, 2014.

The final draft was presented, including comments obtained from the public, on October 29, 2014. The proposal includes three different groups of changes, including the Town Center Commercial district (TCC), PDD-TH2 district (Kirby Dr) and General Commercial Use changes.

The council’s agenda also includes a request for the approval of spending an additional $4,000 to the law firm of Lowell F. Denton, a San Antonio lawyer who specializes in land use by religious institutions. The council hired Denton late last year, for $10,000, as a consultant on the proposed long-range Municipal Facilities Master Plan. That plan includes proposed real estate transactions between the city of West U and the West University Baptist Church. The church is considering the construction of a new Youth Center, and the city has published a request for proposals that would include the “swap” of land between the church and the city to allow for both the Youth Center and a so-called Super Block for city facilities.

Also on the council’s agenda is an “emergency” ordinance that would apply to city-owned or operated facilities, except for streets.

The purpose of the ordinance is to provide “a safe, secure and orderly environment for patrons and employees, free from interference or harassment” at city facilities.

The ordinance adds a criminal penalty for violating the ordinance.

“Violation of any rule or order of a responsible official issued in furtherance of this Chapter shall constitute a Class C misdemeanor,” according to the proposed change to the ordinance.