City of Decatur to consider daycare again

By Brian Knox | Published Saturday, June 16, 2018
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Nearly three months after being denied a specific use permit for a daycare in south Decatur, the applicants will try once again to convince local residents and the city council they should be allowed to build the facility in the South Martin Branch neighborhood.

Jesse Branscum, through Fifty Fifty Properties, LLC on behalf of South Martin Branch, LP, has once again filed for a specific use permit to allow a daycare on just under an acre of land southwest of the intersection of Farm Road 730 and Martin Branch Road, the main entrance into the South Martin Branch neighborhood.

The previous SUP request drew opposition from many residents of the South Martin Branch and nearby Brookhollow neighborhoods. Since local property owner opposition to that request was greater than 20 percent, it required a “super-majority” approval of at least 3/4 of the city council in order to pass. That meant six votes were needed to pass the request, but the council voted 5-1 for approval, with former council member Cary Bohn casting the lone opposing vote and one council member absent.

The city’s planning department recommended approval of the application, and the planning and zoning commission had voted 4-0 in favor of recommending approval.

The new application is substantially the same as the previous one with two new points: the Texas Department of Transportation is reviewing the possibility of reducing the speed limit along FM 730 in the area at the city’s request, and the applicant has agreed to provide a buffer zone between the daycare property and the adjoining property located south of the site in the city’s extra-territorial jurisdiction.

But the application may still face strong opposition. On Thursday, the city received a petition signed by 95 nearby residents, which stated their opposition to the daycare for three reasons: additional traffic, safety issues at the FM 730/South Martin Branch intersection and the additional noise of children playing outside changing the quiet, single-family residential atmosphere of the neighborhood.

The proposed daycare property is zoned for commercial use. Daycares are permitted in a C-2 thoroughfare business zoning district with a specific use permit.

The facility could serve up to 110 children.

The planning and zoning commission will once again consider the SUP application at its meeting at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday at the City Hall Meeting Room, 201 E. Walnut. The city council is expected to hear the first reading on the issue at its June 25 meeting and take possible action at the second reading on July 9.

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