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Council denies long-disputed zoning change

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By LPR Staff
Editor/POST-REGISTER

Ongoing disputes between a residential neighborhood developer and the residents of a neighborhood could have proved costly for the developer on Tuesday evening.
During the regular meeting of the Lockhart City Council, city leaders reopened a public hearing regarding the rezoning of a 2.6-acre tract of land on Highway 142

at Mockingbird Lane. The property owner, Randy Morine Heritage Properties, approached the council in early February, requesting that the property, currently zoned RLD-Residential Low Density, be rezoned CMB-Commercial Medium Business. He hoped the rezoning would make the property more attractive to potential buyers, as it has highway frontage and is in proximity of the proposed route for SH-130.
However, residents of the Windridge Subdivision, which borders the property in question, objected strongly.
At the Feb. 6 meeting, more than a dozen Windridge residents came forward asking the council to deny the zoning change. Although many cited concerns about traffic and neighborhood safety as their reasons for opposing the zoning change, several others brought up disputes between developers and property owners as their reasons for objecting.
At that time, Mayor James “Jimmy” Bertram informed the residents that the city could not, and would not, become involved in disputes between residents and developers. However, the council did agree to table the item, giving time for representatives of Randy Morine Heritage Properties to meet with the homeowners and address the concerns.
Despite a March 30 request from Earl Peck of Randy Morine Heritage Properties to once By LPR Staff
Editor/POST-REGISTER

Ongoing disputes between a residential neighborhood developer and the residents of a neighborhood could have proved costly for the developer on Tuesday evening.
During the regular meeting of the Lockhart City Council, city leaders reopened a public hearing regarding the rezoning of a 2.6-acre tract of land on Highway 142 at Mockingbird Lane. The property owner, Randy Morine Heritage Properties, approached the council in early February, requesting that the property, currently zoned RLD-Residential Low Density, be rezoned CMB-Commercial Medium Business. He hoped the rezoning would make the property more attractive to potential buyers, as it has highway frontage and is in proximity of the proposed route for SH-130.
However, residents of the Windridge Subdivision, which borders the property in question, objected strongly.
At the Feb. 6 meeting, more than a dozen Windridge residents came forward asking the council to deny the zoning change. Although many cited concerns about traffic and neighborhood safety as their reasons for opposing the zoning change, several others brought up disputes between developers and property owners as their reasons for objecting.
At that time, Mayor James “Jimmy” Bertram informed the residents that the city could not, and would not, become involved in disputes between residents and developers. However, the council did agree to table the item, giving time for representatives of Randy Morine Heritage Properties to meet with the homeowners and address the concerns.
Despite a March 30 request from Earl Peck of Randy Morine Heritage Properties to once By LPR Staff
Editor/POST-REGISTER

Ongoing disputes between a residential neighborhood developer and the residents of a neighborhood could have proved costly for the developer on Tuesday evening.
During the regular meeting of the Lockhart City Council, city leaders reopened a public hearing regarding the rezoning of a 2.6-acre tract of land on Highway 142 at Mockingbird Lane. The property owner, Randy Morine Heritage Properties, approached the council in early February, requesting that the property, currently zoned RLD-Residential Low Density, be rezoned CMB-Commercial Medium Business. He hoped the rezoning would make the property more attractive to potential buyers, as it has highway frontage and is in proximity of the proposed route for SH-130.
However, residents of the Windridge Subdivision, which borders the property in question, objected strongly.
At the Feb. 6 meeting, more than a dozen Windridge residents came forward asking the council to deny the zoning change. Although many cited concerns about traffic and neighborhood safety as their reasons for opposing the zoning change, several others brought up disputes between developers and property owners as their reasons for objecting.
At that time, Mayor James “Jimmy” Bertram informed the residents that the city could not, and would not, become involved in disputes between residents and developers. However, the council did agree to table the item, giving time for representatives of Randy Morine Heritage Properties to meet with the homeowners and address the concerns.
Despite a March 30 request from Earl Peck of Randy Morine Heritage Properties to once again table the issue, the public hearing reopened in front of the council on Tuesday evening.
More than 20 Windridge residents again came to the council, begging the property not be rezoned.
“We have so many children in the neighborhood,” said resident Debra Tello. “We watch them walk to and from school and have to cross that intersection, and it”s too busy already. Putting a convenience store there would just make it worse and more dangerous.”
Other residents, including John Smith, who lives near the “back” of the subdivision, reminded the council that Mockingbird Lane is the only entrance or exit to the property.
“It”s already hard to get in and out,” Smith said. “If a store gets built at the corner, it will make it worse. As it stands, that”s the only way we have to get out if there”s an emergency like the floods a few weeks ago.”
Smith also noted a problem with drivers coming into the neighborhood trying to avoid traffic, but not realizing there is no outlet on Mockingbird Lane.
Still, despite Bertram”s earlier admonitions, many residents also complained that the lack of communication with Randy Morine Heritage Properties was ongoing, and the developer had still failed to fulfill promises to the property owners.
“Once again, we cannot and will not take a stand on that,” Bertram said. “We asked him to meet with you, but we can”t make him do that. What”s more, if he sets a meeting, we cannot and will not spend taxpayer money to send out a notice of one neighborhood”s association meeting. We”re watching the situation and we want to help any way we can, but as a city council, there is only so much we can do.”
Peck was not present to answer allegations from homeowners.
After hearing the concerns of the community, Councilmember Lew White moved not to table the issue, but to deny the zoning request. The council agreed with a 6-1 vote, with only Mayor Pro Tem Frank Estrada standing against the motion. Estrada said it was more proper to wait, Peck was not present for the meeting, having requested the discussion be tabled.
In other news, the council chose five homes and two alternates to be rebuilt as a part of this year”s Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs HOME grant program.
Under the program, homes in disrepair are eligible to be rebuilt, provided the homeowners meet certain criteria, including financial need. Over the years of the program, Lockhart has built more than 40 homes for residents in need.
This year, 14 homeowners turned in applications to participate in the program. Of the 14, five were chosen, with two as alternative choices in the event a homeowner changes his or her mind, or more funds become available. The homes are located on Ruddy, Cottonwood, Rio Grande, Trinity, Fifth, Pearl and North Commerce Streets.
In brief news:
The Lockhart City Council meets on the first and third Tuesday of each month at 7:30 p.m. in the Glosserman Conference Room at Lockhart City Hall. The meetings are open to the public and are televised on Time Warner Cable Channel 10.

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