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Mark Richardson is a multimedia journalist, editor and writer who has worked in digital, print and broadcast media for three decades. He is a nationally recognized editor and reporter who has covered government, politics and the environment. A journalism graduate from the University of Texas at Austin, he was recently awarded a Foundation for Investigative Journalism grant and has three Associated Press Managing Editors awards for excellence in reporting.
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Church wins ZAP approval for impervious cover variance
Following a brief executive session, the Zoning and Platting Commission approved a variance last night to allow
This was church’s second attempt at getting the variance. Last December, the ZAP refused to grant an impervious cover variance based on a different part of the city code.
After calling the case, ZAP Chair Betty Baker immediately sent the commission to an executive session to discuss the legal aspects of the case with city staff. Upon returning, Commissioner Keith Jackson asked agent Ron Thrower if the owner or seller had ever been compensated for loss of right-of-way at the site. Thrower said that, to his knowledge, neither one had.
The church, which says it has about 38 members, has moved buildings onto the site, at FM 620 and
The church came back for a second try for the variance on April 2. They returned to the commission, having found a different portion of the Land Use Code to pursue to get the same result. Thrower told the commission that it was true they were seeking the same result that was rejected previously.
“However, we believe that it is appropriate under this portion of the City Code to pursue the increase in impervious cover,” he said.
At the April 2 hearing, property owner Jerry Hoffera, who lives across
“That property is almost unbuildable,” he said. “There is no way they are going to be able to do drip irrigations for their wastewater. The ground over there is like concrete. It’s going to contaminate the water.” Hoffera did not attend last night’s ZAP meeting.
Though it was never explicitly stated in open session, it appeared that a denial by the commission would force the church to use space designated for parking. That would force its members to park in nearby neighborhood streets, something that area residents adamantly opposed.
Commission Member Jackson moved to allow the variance, and the board voted 7-1 in favor, with Baker the lone dissenting vote.
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