Council denies commercial zoning request

By George Slaughter, News Editor
Posted 4/13/22

The Katy City Council Monday denied a request to change the zoning classification from residential to commercial for nine houses near the southwest corner of the Franz Court-Avenue D intersection.

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Council denies commercial zoning request

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The Katy City Council Monday denied a request to change the zoning classification from residential to commercial for nine houses near the southwest corner of the Franz Court-Avenue D intersection.

City staff recommended denying the request, saying that the commercial zoning district land uses are being updated in May as part of the city’s comprehensive plan. That plan is expected to include future land use projections and maps. The city’s planning and zoning commission followed the staff recommendation, and denied the request at its Feb. 8 meeting.

The council’s denial came after an extended public hearing at which proponents acknowledged the city’s intentions but said they were dealing with the situation now. The houses across the street from the petitioners making the request are near the northwest corner of the intersection and are zoned commercial.

Gary Jones is a former Ward A council member who is among the petitioners.

“The system that we’re talking about, the rezoning, is a system of rules to control where the houses and businesses are being built by the city,” Jones said. “We have a system, in my opinion, that is damaged and unequal at the present. Right across the street, the properties that were zoned years ago, in this case as a C zone, have been used as residential for over 35 years. Now these individuals are deceased, and their heirs are listing and selling it as commercial property.”

Jones said the petitioners believe their property is just like the commercially zoned property.

“It faces the same streets,” Jones said. “We face each other, so we want to be zoned Commercial 1 too, so we, or our heirs, can get the same benefits.”

Marcie Wood is an opponent of the proposal. She said the request, if approved, would adversely affect other homeowners nearby.

“You don’t intend to sell the properties now, but is that always going to be the case,” Wood asked.

Another opponent urged the council to end the matter “with prejudice so this doesn’t come up again.”

But there might be another way to address the discrepancy. Shari Boothe, a proponent, said she was told that the property now zoned commercial can be rezoned as residential. Initially, she said, she and others were told that the commercial zoning designation could not be changed.

In response to a question from Council Member-at-Large and Mayor Pro Tem Chris Harris, City Attorney Art Pertile said the council could vote to make such a change.

Harris appeared ready to make such a motion at that moment, but Pertile said process must go through regular procedures. The proposal must be given proper public notice and brought before the planning and zoning commission before the council can consider it. The earliest the council could review it, Pertile said, would be at its May 23 meeting.

In making the motion to deny the request, Ward A Council Member Janet Corte said she understood people’s sentiments. She said she and her family moved from Houston to Katy because, as a couple of opponents said during the hearing, living in Katy is like living in Mayberry, the idyllic fictional town setting portrayed in the Andy Griffith Show.

“I find it really sad that we are at this position,” Corte said. “This street should never have been allowed to split in the first place. (Heading east along Franz Road, the road splits. Franz Road continues to run past Avenue D. Franz Court ends at Avenue D.) Rules are designed not to force you to do something. They are to create a level playing field. They are designed to create harmony. The north side of Franz court, in my opinion, should have been corrected when they pushed Franz Road through, whenever that was.”

The Franz Court zoning request was one of two zoning requests brought before the council Monday. The other request called for amending requirements and restrictions for development within the West 10 Business Park. The planning and zoning commission approved this request, but the council voted to extend the public hearing until its next meeting to get more information and solicit more input.

zoning, City of Katy, Katy City Council

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