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Zoning change advances plans for Pier 334 Development

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Public hearing draws residents of Gale Drive and Jeffery Circle

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GUN BARREL CITY–At the April 26 meeting, residents of Gale Drive and Jeffery Circle came to speak during the public hearing to rezone lots 28 and 29 in the Lambs Retreat subdivision physically located at 102 Jeffery Circle. This rezone would change the two lots from Single Family Detached Residential District (R-4) to General Business District (B-2). Ten residents spoke against the action as well as the developer for the Pier 334 Development Steven Haynes of YNS Services. 
While residents urged the council to enforce the current zoning which protects the residents near Big Chief Landing, some were concerned the project is moving forward without concern to the residents. One resident fears the new development will resurrect the same problems of parking during busy events and emergency access with unattended vehicles on narrow streets not built to accommodate such a development. John Paulson of Jeffery Circle has been a resident of the area since 1988 and noted that Lambs Retreat Subdivision has restrictions which prohibit the use of the lots for business, manufacturing or apartment house purposes of any kind. Dr. Maria Mitchell another resident of the area, says she played with the plan herself, reconstructing the site that fits everything into the plan but in a manner that doesn’t bother the residents of Jeffery Circle or Gale Drive. Mitchell went on to urge council to keep Big Chief landing as is, with free access for boating and fishing for the area. She noted that there are also over 60 native oak trees on the land that is to be developed and hated to see them cut down. Among other concerns were a poor design, multiple unneeded ingress and egress, decreased safety, diminished quality of life and sanitation/dumpsters with a hotel service area within view of homes. 
Haynes spoke during the hearing stating that they are asking for the lots to be included in the project to reduce any perceived impact to neighbors, provide more public space and more water access. “The land that is there has been used for this purpose for 50 years, we just want to restore it to it’s original splendor,” said Haynes. He explained that the plan is the first step in a very long process and an early drawing by Yve Hopen who is one of the architects YNS Development uses. “While I do appreciate the fact that this changes the life you’ve had for the last three to four years, its not going to change the life you had for the 47 years prior. In fact, we intend to make it better,” Haynes explained to the residents during the meeting. He went on, “When you bought your properties you knew that this existed there and had been there a very long time.” Haynes stated that he hoped the people who come to visit the facility do not park on the resident’s streets and hoped they stayed in parking lots. 
Mayor David Skains stated that he apologized the residents received some bad information and that this was just a preliminary drawing of which the developer has already made some changes. Council stated that the restrictions on Lambs Retreat would have to be thoroughly researched. “This project is nowhere near ready to start breaking ground and putting bricks up. We have a long way to go, very long ways to go with this project,” said Skains. He also stated that more public hearings would be in the future. The motion passed three yes and two no votes. 
In other business, council members:
• Approved moving the May 24 regular meeting up one week to May 17 due to Primary Run Off elections held at City Hall. 
• Approved the annual financial report for the fiscal year ending Sept. 30, 2021. 
• Approved the authorization of the City Manager to negotiate an hourly rate increase for legal services. 
• Adopted Ordinance NO. O-2022-006 which adopts updated procurement policies and procedures. 
• Awarded and declined bids for the TxCDBG No. 7220171 Street Reconstruction Project. 
• Adopted Ordinance No. 0-2022-010 establishing an application fee regarding a request for an amendment to the City’s Comprehensive Plan. 
• Appointed Lisa Matthews to Planning and Zoning Commission. 
• Appointed Jim Sykora and Larry Johannes to the Board of Adjustment. 
• Approved Resolution No. R-2022-006 approving a façade grant and performance agreement to RNR Enterprises, Inc., d/b/a Gun Barrel City Pharmacy in an amount not to exceed $3,579.50.
• Approved the replatting of lots 11-13 and 26 in the Harbor Point Subdivision, belonging to Nhut Le and Nhung Nguyen physically located at 321 Coral Reef Street into one lot, Lot 11-R. 
• Approved to table agenda items 4G and 4H. 
• Approved changing the Planning and Zoning meeting time from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.