City Council Denies Request For Houston Street Zoning Change On First Reading
An ordinance request to change 607 Houston Street from a single family to a two family housing zone was denied by Sulphur Springs City Council, as recommended by city’s Planning and Zoning Commission. However, three council members — Erica Armstrong, John Sellers and Jimmy Lucas voted in favor of the change, on first reading of the proposal.
Community Development Director Tory Niewiadomski explained that the Planning and Zoning Commission held a public hearing in March regarding the zone designation. The P&Z Commission recommended denying the request so that it could not be considered spot zoning, which City Attorney Jim McLeroy said is illegal and can lead to land use issues. Concern was expressed for higher traffic a duplex might bring to an area were children are outside playing.
When Councilwoman Erica Armstrong asked if there were already duplexes in the area, Niewiadomski said research found one had been in the area, but was no longer in use.
The developer spoke with city staff afterward, and indicated other options would be considered.
Armstrong questioned whether there would really be that much more traffic from a duplex or two family structure as apposed to a one family structure.
Niewiadomski said the P&Z Commission want to preserve the single family area, indicating a duplex would be out of place in that area.
“That is an area I’m very familiar with. A new developer in there would be very nice in areas as in need of help. I understand the concern for spot. The area could definitely stand for some new construction,” Sellers said.
Armstrong said she did’t think duplexes, especially with the new construction styles, would be that out of place.
Emily Glass said traffic would increase, but she is more concerned it could be construed as spot zoning, which is largely why P&Z Commission denied.
When Armstrong asked about apartment or multifamily dwellings near the area of the proposed two family structure. Niewiadomski admitted there were some a couple of blocks away. Sellers noted there’s a retirement facility on Woodlawn Street as well. Niewiadomski said that’s a multi family zone.
The final vote was 4-3 affirming the Planning and Zoning Commission’s recommendation to deny the request for a change of 607 Houston St. from a single to a two family zone on first reading of Ordinance 2743.
KSST News researched the area and found one Multi-Family Zoned lot near that same block, but that lot has only been recently occupied by a family of horses.