Revamped codes, zoning get final nod
After months of talk, meetings and repeated votes at city hall, Port Aransas now has a rewritten set of city codes and a revamped zoning map.
The city council voted unanimously on third reading to pass a top-to-bottom rewrite of city codes on Thursday, March 18.
The council voted 6-1 to pass the redrawn zoning map on third reading. Councilman Charles Bujan’s no vote came in connection with a 10-acre piece of land located off Paradise Point Road.
The undeveloped acreage off Paradise Point Road has been zoned light industrial for years. In the relatively recent process of redrawing the zoning map, the Planning and Zoning Commission decided it would be more appropriate to zone the land TR-1, tourist recreational, because that’s the kind of development that generally has been taking place in that area, said Interim City Manager Dave Parsons.
The property is owned by an Oklahoma family. The family requested that the property remain zoned light industrial because it would allow for a wider range of uses, Parsons said.
Most of the council got behind a compromise that the property be rezoned C-2, a zone that would allow for some commercial uses but not as many as light industrial. Bujan said he voted no because he felt owners of property surrounding the 10 acres should have been notified by the city of plans for a possible rezoning of the land.
Speaking generally, Parsons said it’s important that people buying property check how a neighborhood is zoned before making serious decisions about buying and building on real estate. It’s impossible to know what kind of structures could be built next-door without checking on how the area is zoned.
“The rule of thumb is this,” Parsons said. “Imagine the worst allowable use for that (nearby) piece of property. If you’re looking at buying property, that’s what you should be able to live with.”
One of the biggest changes in the zoning map envelopes an area bordering both sides of State Hwy. 361 from Mustang Beach Airport south to the city limits. Before the new zoning map was approved, that area largely was zoned commercial or for NUDs – Neighborhood Unit Developments, like Cinnamon Shore. The commercial areas now are zoned TR-3, with the new map. TR-3 allows condominiums, town homes and other kinds of residences, but no developments with business as a primary activity.
The Planning and Zoning Commission wanted the area to be changed to TR-3 because strip shopping centers already had begun popping up along State Hwy. 361 south of Avenue G, and commissioners didn’t want the trend to continue all the way to the city limits, Parsons said.
“There could have ended up being driveway after driveway, and gridlock,” Parsons said. “P&Z didn’t want to see it.”
Overall, the changes in the zoning map and city codes are widely varied. Many are housekeeping matters, but others are more significant. The codes rewrite includes new provisions such as:
• Allowing for Accessory Dwelling Units, also known as ADUs, or mother-in-law cottages;
• Revised mandates for business landscaping;
• Changes in parking requirements for businesses;
• Allowing property owners in areas zoned for multi-family residential use to subdivide lots into smaller pieces than current code allows.
(For more details on the changes, go to www. portasouthjetty.com, click on “archives” and select the Jan. 14 edition. Select the front-page story headlined “Cleaning house.”)