City Planner Dan Gibson told the council that the Planning and Zoning Commission had reviewed the request and supported the change, which would make some 2.6 acres currently zoned for residential building into comercially-zoned property. He said the developer's request is in line with the city's current land-usage projections. Gibson did note, however, that more than 44 residents in the area sent in letters of opposition. "Under state law, if more than 20 percent of the adjoining property owners are against it, it would require six of the seven votes from council to change it," Gibson said. "Still, some of the people that sent in protests do not own adjoining property, and the letters that we got only amounted to some 19 percent." A chief cause of concern for District Two Councilmember Frank Estrada, who is the district representative for the area, is the fact that there are ongoing tensions between the developer and the property owner. Estrada suggested that those tensions might be in part responsible for the residents opposition to the zoning change. "To say that the owners are concerned is putting it lightly," Estrada said. "But most of the concerns that I've heard are personal disputes not directly related to this issue."Estrada suggested that the issue be tabled in order to give the developer and the residents time to discuss and settle their disputes, thinking that some of the community opposition might be resolved.Two councilmembers, Gomez and At Large Councilmember Dick Wieland, voted against tabling the issue, instead voting to deny the zoning change. The other five members, however, opted to take the issue up at the council's April 3 meeting.
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.