Zoning Board To Consider 2 Special Use Permits, Sign Variance Tonight

Sulphur Springs Zoning Board of Adjustments and Appeals is slated Tuesday night, Nov. 22, to consider two special use permits, one new permit for a construction trailer and modifications to a a special use permit granted for a RV resort, as well as a sign variance request.

Construction Trailer For New Bank

First National Bank of East Texas asked for a special use permit to be allowed to have a construction trailer on property at the corners of Wildcat Way and State Highway 19, and Rockdale Road to SH 19.

Vicinity map for the proposed new First National Bank of East Texas to be constructed on Wildcat Way at State Highway 19, for which a special permit was sought to allow a trailer on site for 18 months.

The matter was presented to the city’s Planning and Zoning Commission Monday evening. During that time. The property is adjacent to Murray-Orwosky Funeral Home on the southwest and spans northwest to Rockdale Road. The trailer would be a mobile building, on the site temporarily while a new bank building is being constructed on the property.

Jonathan Jackson of Quitman told the P&Z Commission that while the trailer will be a used manufactured home, it will be up to building and utility standards and temporary, only in use until the permanent bank is being built. The trailer would more or less be located in the center of the 20-acre property, with the permanent building to be built further northwest, closer to Rockdale Road. The remainder of the property could go toward future development or if needed, for bank expansion, so a concrete pad site for the trailer should not be an issue. If the city grants the permit, Jackson said the plan is to begin work on the site immediately, and have the bank branch up within 12 months of the actual start of construction.

Sulphur Springs Assistant City Manager/Community Development Director Tory Niewiadomski said city staff have received some modular drawing for the project and are comfortable with the request, with an 18-month stipulation.

Proposed location of a construction trailer on property where a First National Bank of East Texas building is planned for construction over the next 18 months.

The P&Z Commission agreed, as proposed by city staff, to recommend to the Zoning Board approval of the request for the special use permit allowing the construction trailer on site, with the stipulation it only be for up to 18 months, during construction of the bank. If construction is not completed within 18 months, the applicant would be required to submit for consideration by the Planning & Zoning Commission and Zoning Board another request to extend the special use permit allowing the construction trailer to remain on site.

The Zoning Board of Adjustments is scheduled during a regular 5:30 p.m. meeting Nov. 22, to consider granting the special use permit for the construction trailer for up to 18 months, with JPJ Construction as agent on behalf of First National Bank of East Texas.

RV Resort Modification

The Zoning Board of Adjustments will also be asked at the 5:30 p.m. meeting Tuesday to consider approving a request from Cole Heitman to modify the special use permit he was granted in July 2021 construction of Ladera RV Resort on approximately 48 acres, located at 1196 Jefferson Street, which wraps around other properties to Loop 301 East.

Sulphur Springs Assistant City Manager/Community Development Director Tory Niewiadomski

The request would include 10 modifications, which were submitted to the Planning & Zoning Commission Monday night as well. Engineered drawings of the site have been prepared, which required adjustments to the original concept plan approved by the city board in July 2021, with conditions, including the requirement to reapply for a special use permit if adjustments were made.

Niewiadomski reported notices were sent out to 22 property owners within 200 feet of the site, but as was the case with notices sent for the proposed bank site, the city received no responses either for or against the special use permit request.

The assistant city manager told the Planning & Zoning Commission Monday evening that city staff, after reviewing the modification request, felt comfortable with modifications 1-4, but felt that modification 5 should remain in place to help ensure the park remains a recreational site and not a residence.

  • Modification 1 — The site layout changed. No longer are sites planned compact in the middle of the property. The current proposal is to have a cul de sac along the west property line which would extend closer to Jefferson Street.
  • Modification 2 — The number of slips planned changed. Instead of a 100 total slips, the current plan is for 128 slips.
  • Modification 3 — The size and type of fence changed as well. In July 2021, Heitman proposed a 6.5-foot tall masonry fence abutting residential properties and a 6-foot wooden fence around the rest of the property. The modification would be for an 8-foot tall wooden fence abutting residential properties.

Niewiadomski said city staff members are comfortable with the fencing change due to the overall change, which puts more distance between the planned property use and abutting residential property. The fence also would be 8 feet tall, creating more privacy for all.

Heitman noted the wooden fence is better for drainage beneath it. There are also trees and vegetation which provide a 5-6-foot buffer from the houses.

The developer assured Planning & Zoning Commission member Pat Chase that vegetation and a barbed wire fence which currently separate the Paris Junior College-Sulphur Springs Center property from the RV Resort. He has no current plans to change that. Fence on additional adjoining property would include 4 1/2 feet of barbed wire, which would allow those at the RV resort to enjoy seeing cattle across the fence in the nearby pasture.

The entrance to the planned Ladera RV Resort is on Loop 301 East, not Jefferson Street.

Chase said he is pro masonry, which helps better guard against fence deterioration and any potential issues with maintenance and upkeep as wood ages.

A Ramblewood Court resident present at Monday’s P&Z meeting noted that a nearby masonry wall was in a state of deterioration, so even a masonry wall wouldn’t necessarily guarantee the fence would last. Masonry is only as good as the masons who lay it.

Planning & Zoning Commission member Twila Gill and Vice President Matthew Mattison both said they like the idea of higher fencing.

Chase asked what action could be taken if a fence, wooden or other, is allowed to continue deteriorate without improvements. Niewiadomski noted those could be addressed in accordance by the City Codes by a Code Enforcement officer.

  • Modification 4 — The size or RV sites would be smaller to allow for the 28 additional slips. Previously, RV sites were planned at 35×65-feet, with pull-through slips averaging 75-feet, concrete pads that are 16×50 feet long and east site would accommodate a Class A vehicle 48-foot in length. The modification would reduce RV sites to 34×60-feet, with pull through slips an average of 5-feet smaller, concrete pads reduced to 10×40 feet long and will be able to accommodate a 40-foot RV.
  • Modification 5 — The restriction on long-term stays was changed in the modification request. Instead of limiting long-term stays to 40% of resort capacity, Heitman proposed having no restriction on percentage.

Niewiadomski, referring to Proposed modification 5, noted that without the restriction of long-term stays, the park could potentially become a permanent residential site for some or even all of the property. A mobile home park would not be consistent with city plans.

Gill said she would like to see the number of long-term RV stays at 40% percent of capacity at the park. She expressed concern that doing otherwise would result in people moving in permanently, making it a trailer park instead of luxury RV park.

Ladera RV Resort site plan graphics depicting differences in the 2021 and 2022 special use permit proposals

Heitman said he plans to have only a certain number of long-term sites, and all RVs will be required to be 10 years or newer, and must be up to all utility and other codes (especially electrical), showing proof in photos and documentation prior to arrival.

Mattison said he too recommends limiting long-term stays to 40% of capacity as recommended by city staff.

  • Modification 6 — Staff hours are proposed to be expanded to have staff on site 7-days a week. Previously, the front desk was to open only from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday-Saturday. The new proposal would have someone on duty to work the front desk from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday-Wednesday and from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday-Sunday.

Niewiadomski said he sees have more staff on-site for longer periods 7-days a week as an improvement. He also received confirmation that quiet hours also are still planned to begin at 10 p.m. and end at 8 a.m. daily at Ladera RV Resort.

  • Modification 7 — The redesign does not include a kids splash pad.
  • Modification 8 — Eight 1-2 room cabins to be located around a retention pond also were removed from the revised proposal.

Heitman noted changing up the design, moving things around, and removing some things would allow for 10 additional full hook up concrete slips and the focal point to become a swimming pool in the center of the property.

Niewiadomski said city staff had no recommendation regarding modifications 7 and 8, leaving that up to the commission as to whether or not the members want to approve or deny the removal of these items as sticking points for the special use permit. The new plan does, however, include a fishing pond

Phase 1 construction plan denoted in blue and gray
  • Modification 9 — Phase 1 of construction expands the number of full hook up concrete slips from 50 to 68. Phase 1 of construction would no longer include a grand front entrance nor a gym. Instead, the proposal would include a temporary welcome center, workshop, recycled asphalt street, fencing and a playground. Phase 1 would still include all wet/dry utilities, a laundry, and restroom/shower facilities.

Niewiadomski said city staff recommended that the developer be required to pave or concrete all driving surfaces, and stipulating the temporary welcome center be replaced with a permanent center within 24 months after completion of Phase 1.

Modification 10 — With the splash pad and 8 cabins removed, Phase 2 would include 60 full hook up concrete slips, 10 more than previously planned. Phase 2 would still include a Welcome Center Camp store, Grand event pavilion, a second playground on the other end of the complex and a RV trailer storage facility. Those who choose may also take advantage of a fishing pond incorporated in Phase 2.

Heitman said the plan includes adding a brick patio onto the concrete slips. The drive in would be concrete, then the roadway would be turn to recycled asphalt.

Niewiadomski pointed out the surface must be able to hold a fire truck, which means a certain type of base. Heitman assured the base would be 6-inches, with 5 inches of aggregate millings on top

Niewiadomski said city officials also recommend that Phase 2 commence within 24 months of the completion of Phase 1. This would ensure the amenities proposed are implemented in the project and that the temporary welcome center be removed and replaced with the permanent welcome center.

Heitman doesn’t anticipate that being an issue, as the plan is to start Phase 2 within 12 months of the first, and may even be able to start early.

Niewiadomski pointed out while adding the requirements would require Phase 2 to get under way in 2 years of the first, it doesn’t restrict construction crews from starting or working on both Phases at the same time.

An additional recommendation from city staff was that all site utilities and access be verified for adequacy of development, engineered to meet city development specifications and be approved by the city engineer, utilities department, fire department and/or City Council if deemed necessary by public utility extension.

Ladera RV Resort Phase 2 identified in yellow.

Mattison asked about the size and number of storage units the facility would offer. Heitman noted 10-15 are planned in each section of the resort, and those seeking storage for an RV would can choose from covered and uncovered units.

Mattison and Gill made the motion to recommend the Zoning Board approve the special permit modification request as recommended by city staff, including restriction of long-term capacity to 40% or less, and the removal of the splash pad and retention pond. The P&Z Commission unanimously approved the proposal as recommended.

Other Agenda Items

Monday night, Niewiadomski said he anticipates a Planning & Zoning meeting will be called for the third Monday in December as well.

The Zoning Board of Adjustments will be asked to consider electing a chairman and vice-chairman. The board too is slated to discuss and consider taking action on CEFCO’s request for a variance to exceed the height and square footage allowed for a pole sign on the freeway.

Author: KSST Contributor

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