Fireworks likely at city council on Monday

February 10, 2017

west-u-signIn what will likely be an eventful meeting, the West University Place will gather at 6:30 p.m., on Monday, February 13, in the Municipal Building located at 3800 University Boulevard.

There will be two public hearings – joint events with the West U Zoning and Planning Commission.

Parking for future restaurants in Town Center 

The first of the two public hearings proposes to change the parking requirements in the Town Center Commercial zoning district, the area on Edloe Street, east of West University Elementary School. Town Center is an advertising agency’s description of West U’s tiny, mostly lethargic commercial district.

The main thrust of this proposal is that it would more than double the parking space requirements for any new restaurant uses. This would not apply to the existing restaurants in the Town Center Commercial zoning district, only new uses. The existing eateries could change names or owners without having to meet the new parking requirement.

Change the zoning definition for “private school” 

WU counciltable-xavier feb2017The second public hearing deals with the definition of “private school.” The proposed change could cause Xavier Educational Academy to move in 2021 from its current location in West U’s Town Center.

Xavier is a for-profit private school that started in 2007. It began in a small rental space as a tutoring service. It has morphed into a full-service private school, currently with 120 students in grades 5-12. Xavier’s rental space spans property on University Boulevard and Edloe Street — all in response to Xavier’s successful business and educational model.

The issue under consideration is changing the definition of “private school.” The current West U code currently defines a private school as any non-public entity required to obtain a license from the Texas Education Agency. But the Texas Legislature abolished the licensing requirement more than a decade ago. So under current West U law, there is no such thing as a “private school” because there is no TEA requirement for any license.

The proposed change would define a “private school” as any non-public entity that offers an academic curriculum. The new definition would create a zoning compliance problem for Xavier even though the proposed new ordinance would grant existing businesses, like Xavier, until 2021 to come in compliance with the new law.

That’s not good enough for Xavier, who likes their location and wants to stay in West U’s Town Center past 2021.

Some residents believe that Xavier’s growth has run afoul of West U’s long-stated goal that Town Center be a retail district that promotes local businesses and foot-traffic consumerism.

The city council will be forced on Monday to balance these competing interests.

wu-candidates-election-logo-1Council to call an election 

The city council will also order a general election to be held in the City of West University Place on May 6 for the purpose of electing a mayor and four council members.

There will be one polling place – West University Place City Hall.

George Boehme

George Boehme is the publisher of and West University Essentials magazine.

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