Breckenridge Texan

Wheeler Street townhouse zoning request to face new vote

Wheeler Street townhouse zoning request to face new vote
November 29
15:44 2018

A request for a zoning change on West Wheeler Street that was approved at last week’s Planning and Zoning Commission meeting will have to be voted on again by members of the board after the Breckenridge City Attorney determined the original vote was invalid.

The request is for rezoning the property at 600 W. Wheeler St. to allow townhouses to be built at that location. Breckenridge City Manager Andy McCuistion said the request will once again have to be brought before the Planning and Zoning Commission for another vote, which will be held at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 13.

A packed house turned out for last week’s public hearing on the request, with several community members expressing their views on the proposed change. The speakers included citizens on both sides of the issue. Immediately following the hearing, the commission met and approved the request.

Reason for the re-vote

According to McCuistion, the recommendation to have the board re-vote on the request was made after it was determined that the board member who made the motion to approve the zoning change was no longer eligible to serve on the commission because he had moved.

McCuistion said the board member, Mike Hinyard, moved out of town but still works in Breckenridge and has an apartment in the First National Bank building. However, McCuistion said, since he moved his voting address to his out-of-town home, he is no longer eligible to serve on the P&Z Commission. He said that once the address change was realized, the attorney for the city was contacted and determined it was better to be on the safe side and have a re-vote.

“It just seems like the right thing to do,” said Eileen Hayman, Breckenridge City Attorney.

McCuistion said one of the reasons the city attorney determined it would be best to hold a re-vote, was because Hinyard was the one who made the motion to approve the request. During the meeting, Hinyard, Mike Griffith and Jesse Geron voted for the request. Board members William Hardy and Genoa Goad voted against it; Elaine Moore and Randy Hash abstained from the vote.

Hayman and McCuistion said if other board members had made the motion and seconded it, Hinyard’s vote could have been discounted. That would have made the vote 2 to 2 when it was passed on to the City Commission.

“But that’s not how it happened,” McCuistion said, “and they felt like we had to do it all over again. What we expected for it to do, was go to the council with a 3 to 2 vote for it. If he was not a legal voting member, then the entire motion was void.”

P&Z Commission Changes

McCuistion said Hinyard has since resigned from the P&Z Commission and during the next Breckenridge City Commissioners meeting on Tuesday, Dec. 4, city commissioners will vote on Coby Walker, who has been nominated to replace Hinyard. McCuistion said if Walker is approved, he will be sworn in at the beginning of the next the P&Z board meeting, on Dec. 13, immediately before the re-vote on the proposal is scheduled to take place.

Upcoming meeting and scheduled re-vote

McCuistion said when the request is once again brought before the P&Z Commission on Dec. 13, there will not be a public hearing before the meeting. He said the attorney said since they have already held two  public hearings, another one will not be required, only a new vote by the P&Z board on the request. However, McCuistion said, there will be a portion of the meeting to allow public comments.

Because they are not holding a public hearing before the meeting, McCuistion said, the City is not required to send out the notices and notify everybody within 200 feet of the project about the meeting.

“There will be a public input session where they’ll get to speak anyway, but it’s just not a public hearing. We’ve met the requirement,” he said.

Next step after P&Z vote

Although the P&Z Commission makes recommendations on zoning issues, McCuistion said, the ultimate decision is with the city commissioners.

McCuistion said regardless of whether or not the Planning and Zoning board recommends allowing townhouses to be built on the West Wheeler property, the next step will be by the city commissioners. He said once the Planning and Zoning Commission members make their recommendation, the zoning request will then move forward for action by city commissioners.

Three Planning and Zoning Commission members raise their hands in favor of a request to allow townhouses on West Wheeler Street. (Photo by Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan)

Two Planning and Zoning Commission members raise their hands in a vote against the request to allow townhouses in the 600 block of West Wheeler Street. Two board members abstained from voting. (Photo by Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan)

Story by Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan

Cutline, top photo: At a Planning and Zoning Commission public hearing earlier this month, Gary Trammel voices his opinion about a request to allow townhouses in the 600 block of West Wheeler Street. (Photo by Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan)

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