Rhome City Council denies rezoning

By Richard Greene | Published Saturday, March 16, 2019
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Mapping It Out

MAPPING IT OUT – As Ashley Majors speaks on the proposed rezoning request for three acres on Morris Street, Jo Ann Wilson holds a map of the property during Thursday’s Rhome City Council meeting. Messenger photo by Richard Greene

The future development of three acres on Morris Street in Rhome remains in question.

Seven months after denying the preliminary plat for 60-plus townhomes on the property in the 200 to 300 block of Morris Street, the Rhome City Council denied a rezoning request Thursday night that would have allowed 17 homes to built on the land.

The request by David Wilson of Quanah was to rezone the three acres from single family with minimum lot sizes of 10,000 square feet to single family with minimum lot sizes of 5,000 square feet.

The Rhome Planning and Zoning Commission voted 4-0 to recommend the denial of the rezoning, and several neighboring property owners spoke against it. After a briefing from City Administrator Joe Ashton pointed out that the council would need a supermajority to pass the rezoning, councilman Sam Eason quickly moved a motion to deny it. The rest of the council agreed.

“There’s no possible way there’s going to be four votes for it,” Eason said. “So, I’d like to go ahead and make a motion we deny this zoning request. Those are the numbers I’m doing.”

Before Eason’s motion for denial, councilmen Josh McCabe and Kenny Crenshaw echoed the concerns of the seven speakers during the public hearing on the request.

“I ran the numbers on this before I heard the input from anyone,” McCabe said. “To me, it doesn’t make sense. By the time you factor in a 25-foot front yard and 15-foot back yard, you have 1,200-square feet to build on and then you’ve got to build a two-car garage, which doesn’t count toward your living space. So to make that work, you’d have to build a two-story [home] and you have to use every square inch of the space. Then where are you going to put your heating, cooling and everything else. So to me the numbers don’t even work. So I was against this just seeing the numbers, but after hearing the public input, I am totally against this 100 percent.”

Crenshaw added: “I’ve never been in favor of high density development and never will be. I don’t think it meets the criteria and I tend to agree and take the planning and zoning’s recommendation.”

The citizens that spoke voiced concerns about traffic and the effect on property values with the smaller lot sizes.

“The zoning would limit future uses and devalue the surrounding property,” said Shirley Mize.

Planning and zoning member Ashley Majors brought a map of the property and stacked 17 pieces of paper on it to show the high density.

“This zoning change is not compatible with the surrounding area,” Majors said. “It’s not in accord with our current plans.

“To date there’s not a recent rate at which land is being developed in the same classification as the request. Not in the vicinity of the request or anywhere else in the city.”

In other business, the council approved accepting $100,000 from the Prairie Point developers for their share of the cost of the design of the Eastside Wastewater Treatment Plant expansion.

The developers of the 1,000-home addition east of Crown Point will also pay a portion of the construction to expand the plant.

“They will pay their portion [of the expansion],” said Mayor Michelle Pittman di Credico. “That’s what we indicated to our citizens from the beginning on the expansion. They would be responsible for their portion and our citizens would not paying for the Prairie Point development.”

Voters approved the monies for the expansion of the Eastside Wastewater Treatment Plant 306 to 219 in November. In January, the council approved an ordinance to issue $2.62 million in bonds for the expansion.

The council gave di Credico authorization to negotiate a professional services agreement with the developers of the Rolling V Development. Approximately 1,800 acres of the future development is in Rhome’s extraterritorial jurisdiction.

The council also pledged its support for the legislation for the Rolling V Ranch Water Control and Improvement District No. 1 of Wise County.

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