Wednesday evening, Nov. 1, had the Van Alstyne Planning & Zoning Commission meeting in a special session, with public hearings on the agenda on items that later came to a vote. This was similar to the special called City Council meeting in that it was a prelude to a joint board workshop held immediately after the P&Z meeting ended.

The first item was a request from William Pacheco, owner of El Patio Escondido and the house just to its east, asking for both properties to be rezoned as a planned development. They are now zoned as commercial and residential. Several months ago, Pacheco asked that they both be zoned commercial, so he can build a larger parking lot. At that time, the request was denied, since the house could not be occupied if it were zoned commercial.

P&Z Commissioners Herb Reed, Jim Atchison and Bob Hendricks received a required plat for the property, and were read an email from a back-yard neighbor who had a complaint on the fence location that separates the two properties and the trash that the neighbor said is left behind from the commercial dumpster on El Patio property. Pacheco later said that he moved the fence line following the meeting that night.

There was discussion on concrete and masonry requirements and when those came in (2015) as compared to the 2012 date that the restaurant opened. Pacheco explained that he is planning to move the house onto property he has bought elsewhere in Van Alstyne, and when he does that, the property will be used for additional parking. Atchison also said he would like to have a requirement of a metal pole set at the back of the property to prevent cars from backing into the neighbor’s yard. There was other discussion and toward the end, the P&Z board voted unanimously to change the zoning to Planned Development.

Next up was required rezoning to make the Planned Development going in around the new Sanford Elementary School and touching along Hurricane Creek. Some of the lots will require variances on setbacks to accommodate the potential new homeowners’ best use of the land. There was also talk about road improvements, escrows in place and other factors, with a final unanimous vote taken to approve the requests.

No action was taken on the application of Paul Nobles to join the P&Z board. There is one vacancy on the board now and there are other people who expressed that they will be applying to serve on this voluntary board as well.