Center Citizens Express Concerns Over Possible Rezoning

June 9, 2015 - Citizens of Center addressed the Center City Council in relation to a request for a rezone and specific use permit made by Mark Ivey at 413 Hurst Street.

The property, currently zoned heavy commercial (C-2), is located between Arcadia Road and Crawford Street and includes such businesses as Bob's Pawn and Gun, State Farm Insurance and Handy Andy's liquor store. Ivey's request was to modify the zoning to industrial (M1) and a corresponding specific use permit to install and maintain a billboard.

Jo Watson, William Ford and Patricia Ford were present to speak about the change in zoning and were against its approval. Following the meeting they described for Shelby County Today their issue with the change in zoning.

Patricia Ford stated she and her husband lease Handy Andy's and live behind the location, "It's impossible, we have to wait for a red light to even pull out. So, as congested as that is, why would you want signs or make it more congested by rezoning it and putting in some off the wall plant or something?"

Jo Watson explained why she was concerned with the proposed changes, "We were just concerned about the billboard that Mark Ivey wants to put up and also he wanted to change the zoning from commercial to manufacturing and we just don't want a bunch of plants."

Following a public hearing about the request it was discussed during the regular meeting. A motion was carried to deny the request.

Catherine Livingston made a request on behalf of Wulf Center Trades Day and Antique Mall for the support of the City of Center in the amount of $10,700 for 12 months for billboard advertising south of Nacogdoches and North of Carthage.

If the council agreed to this the city would be responsible for 100% of the cost for this advertisement.

The Hotel/Motel Advisory Board recommended the approval of the request. A motion was made by councilman Jim Forbes to approve the hotel/motel budget amendment; however, no second was heard and the motion failed.

The council discussed a lease agreement with Pilgrim's Pride. Chad Nehring, City of Center Manager, explained when there is a change in ownership, or refinancing occurs approval of the city and Texas Department of Agriculture must be sought.

"This is actually the second time during the lease with Pilgrim's Pride that the city has been asked to approve a consent to the transition of the lease hold interest in estate. This initiated out of the city sponsoring the Texas Capital Fund Grant project," said Nehring.

According to Nehring the hatchery was constructed 17-18 years ago and part of the improvements made on the property were private improvements on property that had to be leased from the city. The property was deeded to the city and is being leased while grant funds are repaid that were used for private purposes.

"So essentially it's a zero percent interest loan over 30 years for the private business development section," said Nehring.

A motion was carried to approve the modification of the agreement.

The council approved a janitorial services contract for the civic center at $780; city hall at $650 and $400 a month for the level of services at the community house. A bid has been received and a motion was carried by council authorizing the city manager to enter into a contract.

A motion carried to approve an amendment to an engineering contract for TCF grant for the downtown sidewalk enhancement project. TxDOT designed a program to perform a significant amount of additional sidewalk work and installing handicap ramps. The city already has grant funding for work in the areas TxDOT intends to perform this work and will now need to use these funds elsewhere.

"To be able to continue to use that grant funding obviously we need to have some additional survey work and some additional design work done as plans were actually ready for bid when TxDOT announced that they already had a construction project they have started on. So, that does entail a little bit of additional construction cost to be able to continue to use the better part of 2/3 of that $200,000 of grant funds," said Nehring.

Additional engineering cost is proposed at $6,500 for which the city would be responsible. A motion was approved by the council to amend the contract with Everitt Griffit & Associates Inc. and it carried.

Items on the agenda receiving approval include:

1.  Regular Meeting minutes of May 11, 2015.
2.  Pilgrim's Pride Corporation Agreement.
3.  Award of janitorial contract.
4.  Amendment to engineering agreement with Everitt Griffith & Associates, Inc. for TCF Downtown Sidewalk Grant Contract.
5.  Adjournment