By RUSSELL HUFFMAN
The Stephenville City Council waded its way through several public hearings dealing with a variety of topics including zoning, making amendments to existing city ordinances Tuesday evening and introducing a new city staff member.
Interim city manager Patrick Bridges introduced the city’s new Director of Community Services, Jeremy Allen, who is leaving his current job as the operations manager for the city of Cleburne’s convention and visitor’s bureau, to join the Stephenville staff.
Allen brings a wealth of experience in the area of parks and recreation and has Bachelor of Science from the California State University and an MBA from the University of Phoenix. Allen has nine years of experience in parks and recreation and has served the cities of Taft, California, Cedar Hill and Cleburne.
One advantage Allen has over other candidates is being a licensed pilot and he has a solid background in FAA regulations and airport operations, which falls under the director of community services responsibilities.
“We feel we have done really well,” Bridges said in summing up his introduction.
Allen briefly addressed the council saying he appreciated the opportunity and he was looking forward to getting started next Monday.
Having met with area builders and looked at their recommendations in its first public hearing the council voted to adopt a series of “international” trade codes rather than having one year encompassing all the codes. Ordinance # 2014-29 adopts international codes for 2009 covering building, plumbing, fuel gas, residential and energy conservation. The ordinance also adopts the 2011 international electrical code and 2012 international building codes.
The council can amend the ordinance to switch to another series of codes or even switch back if they find it does not suit the city’s needs or if it creates unforeseen costs or burdens. One example cited between the energy conservation codes from various years could raise the cost of a new home by as much as $8,000 per year.
Interim director of community development Judy Miller addressed the board during a public hearing regarding a rezoning request for a .0809 acre plot of land from B-1 neighborhood business district to B-2 retail/commercial at 2550 W Lingleville Road.
Miller said a staff analysis cannot support the citing zoning changes which should promote compatibility with adjacent and nearby uses and should not result in detrimental impacts to the nearby neighborhood character. Additionally, the Future Land Use Plan of the city’s Comprehensive Plan showed the area to be “office/neighborhood business” and that the request to establish a “contractor yard and storage of masonry material” would be in conflict with the plan. The council agreed in a unanimous vote.
While the council went with Miller’s recommendation in one zoning issue it decided to rezone another piece of property in a separate hearing despite Miller’s pointing out doing so would be “spot zoning” which could present future problems.
The matter concerned an odd shaped piece of property owned by Steve Gunn, who along with real estate broker Dee White, spoke about the problems presented in selling the property and the inability to come up with a building plan that could also accommodate parking, setbacks etc.
The council voted to allow the property to be rezoned from R-3 multi-family residential to B-2 retail/commercial business which allows the building of a storage building on the lot.
In other business, the council voted to make an amendment to the Zoning Ordinance Section 18 to change the requirement for publication of public hearings before the council from three times to one which is in accordance to state law.
The council also voted to amend the definitions of “conditional use”, “home occupation” and “special use permits” with Miller pointing out her research showed some of the terms were being intermingled in ordinances and this confusing as to purpose and meaning.
Following its regular meeting the council entered executive session to discuss a personnel claim and lawsuit Cause No. CV32352 Frank Reed and Mary Winona Reed v. City of Stephenville.