Approved by Zoning

but still needs final approval at City Council..

The property described as Lot 15-R-1 block 2 is outlined in yellow.

Charles Lawhon amended his purchase plan and Zoning Change request, after the 30 day continuance at the June Zoning meeting.
Originally, Lawhon wanted a straight “I” zoning, to match his other properties, which City Zoning Staff did not recommend, based on the City’s long range plans for the area.
After the June Zoning meeting, Charles Lawhon has changed the request from an “E” (which it is currently zoned) to “E + Planned Development” with 3 variances to the “E+PD” zoning to allow his future business to operate.
The three variances he wants included on his E+PD zoning are:
New Trailer parking
New Trailer Sales
Light Trailer “manufacturing” such as adding custom light kits, adding hitches on the trucks that do the towing. NO trailer construction/manufacturing will be done on site.
Planned Development zoning means that he will have to provide a detailed site plan to Zoning and the City for permitting. That site plan will get several other City departments looking at the property and the plans before he gets a permit to construct.
But he has to OWN the property first. After he buys it, then:
Storm water and drainage will be assessed by topography and by ground cover.
Urban Forestry will get involved regarding the large stand of old trees on the L portion of this lot, behind the church.
Utility services such as water lines, gas lines, sewer lines will all have to be measured and marked.
continued…

  • In the submitted site notes, Lawhon has listed on the plan:
  • Waiver to allow a solid metal 8 ft tall fencing around the perimeter of the property.
  • He has agreed to use open-air fencing where his property meets the farmstead property to allow airflow and a view of the trees.
  • Will comply with Urban Forestry recommendations & regulations.
  • Will comply with landscaping ordinances.
  • Lawhon is more than willing to have blooming trees planted on the street side facing 820. For the additional trees he plans to plant, he stated that he wants Burr Oaks.
  • Will comply with signage ordinance.
  • E Zoning allows an 8 ft Monument sign at the entrance.
  • Will make sure that all security lighting points down, and does not shine into the backyards of homes to the immediate north on Shefffield Place.
  • He has stated that there will be a five foot green zone on the north fence line to help buffer the neighbors from his business.
  • He has stated that the business hours will be from 8am to 5pm weekdays only.
  • The gates will be shut and locked at 5pm, and there will be no business activity after 5pm or weekends. Trailer delivery will be made during normal business hours.
  • NEW Flat beds, horse trailers, cargo trailers are what he sells. Maximum trailer length is 40 foot long, ones that could be pulled by a regular pick up truck, not a commercial size truck.
  • NO FEMA mobile homes will be stored on this property.
  • The driveway into his business will be located close to the driveway of the church, away from the residential street Sheffield Place.
  • He stated his plans include a dust-free gravel surface that allows water drainage, that will not increase storm runoff or flooding of homes from a hard surface pavement.
  • The materials come from TXDOT, and will be tested for content (oils, toxins).
  • Lawhon estimates it will take about five years to get thru all the approvals to actually start this building this business site.
  • The zoning E+PD stays in effect until the land is sold, unless the same type business operates there.

Next step is approval at the August City Council Meeting.

But neighbors are still protesting the plan. This letter was sent to Cary Moon & Gyna Bivens asking them to vote NO on the zoning change.

Subject: Zoning Case ZC-19-095  

Mr Moon,

I wanted to write you to voice opposition to an upcoming zoning case in your district.  The case is ZC-19-095, at 2020 E Loop 820.

My opposition falls into five points:

  1. The applicant never fully explained how he plans on accessing the property.  Without a variance, TXDOT will not give him authority to create an entry point off the access road.  His only options if a variance is not approved is to try to create an entrance off Sheffield Drive (a hard left turn after a hard right turn off the access road in a truck), which would be expensive to construct, given the drainage culvert in the place where the turn must be negotiated OR to use the church’s driveway.  They might be gracious at first, but over the life of the property, I doubt it.
  2. Staff did not recommend approval.  This is usually a big clue as to how the vote needs to go.  I know the zoning commission struggled with this, and the applicant downgraded his original request to try to mitigate some concerns.  Still, the staff did not recommend approval.
  3. It’s a bad fit for the surrounding properties.  The New Beginnings church will be boxed in on two sides and the property abuts a fairly new residential area to the north.  Many trees will have to be removed from the site to create the parking lot.  Buffers with plantings and fencing will apply, but you and I both know trees will be planted and will die from lack of care within six months, and that will be the end of any landscaping efforts.  The end result will be a fairly industrial appearance.
  4. It’s not the highest and best use of the property.  The church once owned the property and sold it to Total as a drill site, which never happened.  In fact, the church still owns the mineral rights.  The pastor spoke in opposition and expressed the desire to use the property for future expansion, for which he said they have documentation from years back.  In addition to being additional space for growth of the church, it could also be an addition to the existing residential community.
  5. The zoning commission nearly recommended denial.  They only changed the motion to approval (6-2) to basically kick the can down the road for city council to deal with.  Their logic was that it would be easier for the council to deny a case they approved than to approve a case they denied.  I think it is very important to understand the context of that approval vote.  It was not APPROVAL.  It was approval.  Their sentiment was NOT to approve; they only did so to give the applicant the opportunity to truly be heard at city council. 

I hope you will seriously look at this case and deny the change when the case is heard.

Daniel J Haase

Editor’s comments:

Item #1. The property is already zoned Neighborhood Commercial. If ANY development went in, there would HAVE to be an entrance driveway from the service road, just like there is for the Church of Christ, Sheffield Place homes, the New Beginnings Church, the apartments, and McDonalds. The business driveway would NOT be routed through the neighborhood residential streets or the church property.

The proposed business driveway would be closest to the driveway at New Beginings church. There would be no conflict or cross over of driveways. The business will NOT be open on Sundays.

Item #3. The church once owned that land. They selected what they would sell to a gas driller. After property is sold, previous owners have no say in what becomes of the property they sold or what the new owner does with it. If they were so concerned about the trees, they should have kept that part of the land and developed a park or green space with it.

Any other property developer who might have purchased this land could legally come in, mow down everything, concrete it and put a strip shopping center in the area. that what is allowed with the current E, neighborhood commercial zoning.