The Van Alstyne City Council met in a special meeting Tuesday night to replace the regular meeting of this coming Tuesday.
They first met at the Zoning Board of Adjustment to discuss a requested re-plat of the property line between 475 and 495 W. Van Alstyne Parkway. William Pacheco owns both properties, operating El Patio Escondido restaurant at 495 W. Van Alstyne Parkway and living in the home just east of it. Pacheco asked for this so that he can build a wooden fence between the two properties, after tearing down one and resurfacing the parking lot to better accommodate his customers.
“This is a small business, and we are trying to attract more,” councilman Robert Jaska said. “(Not approving this re-plat request) isn’t helping his cause. If he is forced back to the smaller parking lot, that won’t be helpful to his business. I am for small business in this town, I want to keep them here. I think we can grant a variance in this case.”
After considerable discussion between Pacheco, one neighbor to his south, council members and the city attorney, the council voted unanimously to approve the replat.
That done, the regular city council meeting began, with no one asking to address the council on non-agenda items.
Then it was another public hearing. This one regarding various changes to the zoning text. Mayor Larry Cooper pointed out that this possible change to the Code of Ordinances, Chapter 32 “Signs and Other Advertising,” came about basically as a result of the re-plat request, and because the city could not be certain if all neighbors of people requesting variances such as that one received their mailed notification. Thus, the changes all were to create an additional way to notify residents of future such requests; and that would be by placing a sign in the front of the property requesting the changes. Cooper said,
“We just want to make sure the neighbors get notice,” Cooper said.
It was a unanimous vote that approved that change when it came up during the meeting.
Next was a public hearing on a proposed truck route change regarding traffic on FM 121. Cooper said this was brought about because of a new U-Haul rental agency opening, and citizen complaints about trucks going through the nearby residential areas. The proposal was to reroute the traffic onto one of the feeder streets off of FM 121 at the railroad tracks that then turned onto Oil Mill Road, but discussion led to the realization that the city could not mandate that, because of state law requiring truck routes to lead to state-maintained roadways. While Oil Mill Road does eventually feed into FM 3133, only a portion of Oil Mill Road is within the city limits, and that portion outside the city limits is also outside of the city jurisdiction.
There was a motion to approve the proposal, made by Councilman Billy Plake, but died because of lack of a second to the motion.
One item was removed from the consent agenda, that of approving the meeting guidelines for the Parks & Recreation Board. The city attorney said that the item could be put back on a future agenda.
The other items, approved unanimously, were:
• Approval of minutes from the February 14 meeting, and a February 17 emergency meeting;
• Appointment of Emily Kendrick and Richard Whiteside to the Van Alstyne Library Board;
• Hiring of a Community Development Director and an agreement with the City and CDC related to funding, duties, and supervising of this new position;
• Amending the CDC current operating budget to increase expenses by $55,000, to add $30,000 for the façade program, $9,000 for development of the Parks Master Plan, and up to $16,000 for use in the city’s Master Plan update.
A separate funding item was also approved unanimously. This was for $5,000 for façade improvements to the Public Library, of that CDC money designated for such use.
Departmental reports included information that Grayson County’s road service had started working on Ball Park and other roadways and has repaired some potholes in the city.
Cooper commented that at the end of the meeting that at least 14 people came out to pick up trash Saturday, many along the U.S. 75 service road and FM 121.
The council adjourned into executive session to consult with the city attorney on two items: The sale and/or purchase of property and the lawsuit Landon Smith v. The City of Van Alstyne. After returning to open session, they took no action on either issue.