Promenade subdivision victorious over light industrial
By Karen Daniels
Wednesday night’s Stafford’s City Council meeting was held at the Stafford Civic Center instead of City Hall which is their normal place of assembly. The agenda item for Carson Companies is an important topic to community members and residents of the Promenade subdivision, as was evident from last week’s large turnout at the Planning & Zoning Commission meeting. The approval of a Specific Use Permit (SUP) would allow for the commercially zoned property, located at Promenade Blvd. and Highway 90-A (250-feet back) to become light industrial.
Three entrances to the building would be accessible from Promenade while only one driveway would serve as an entrance on Highway 90.
The Civic Center is much larger than council chambers and provides an increase in formalities. The passionate concern community members had shown the week before at the P&Z meeting was stilted due to the recognition of the newly and re-elected council members, speeches from the Councilmembers, a presentation by Mayor Scarcella on the history of zoning in the City of Stafford, and a presentation from City Attorney, Art Pertile, about legal definitions and explanations pertaining to this matter. One resident called it, “Long-winded.” The Mayor stated to the audience that when this proposal first came to his attention in December 2013, he told Carson Companies that he “could not support this.”
The public hearing was formally opened at 9:05pm, two hours after the meeting was called to order. In Stafford there is no time limit for audience members who sign up to speak. Residents spoke for 3 ½ hours, each one against the approval of the permit, patiently listing the same reasons they had the week before. Reasons like: • increased 18-wheel traffic, • strangers in the neighborhood, • quality of life, • over-tired truck drivers • late night deliveries, • excessive lights and noise, and • children’s safety. For the most part respect was shown from both sides, however, there were mentions of “inappropriateness” from both relating to their comments. Community members and residents want the property rezoned to Single Family Residence (SFR). In all, 26 people spoke (4-twice) and the public hearing was formally closed at 12:44am.
For the next hour and a half, City Council and the Mayor gave their thoughts on the matter. When the vote was finally taken, and denied 7-0, it was 2:05am. At this time, according to Building Director and Zoning Administrator, Chris Riggs, Carson Companies will “have to wait for one year or come back with something substantially different” concerning that property. City staff and Council remained at the Civic Center and finished the agenda until 3:06am.
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