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  • Friday, October 02, 2015
    Rezoning request mulled by city council
    The Brenham City Council is allowing a plan to rezone two blocks of South Market Street to move forward.
     
    Council members Thursday held a workshop discussion on a request to rezone three parcels of property from general business (B-1) to B-2, which would allow more uses.

    The owner, Ben Boettcher, requested the rezoning, saying it would boost chances to sell his properties.
     
    But because city regulations prohibit “spot zoning,” the only way to comply with Boettcher’s request would be to rezone a two-block area along South Market — between West Stone and West Mansfield streets, said Erik Smith of the city’s development services department.
     
    Smith said city staff attempted to contact 32 homeowners within 200 feet of those two blocks, and the majority of 18 who were contacted were neutral or had no opposition.
     
    Several were at Thursday’s meeting, all voicing opposition to the rezoning.
     
    Several council members also said they were uncertain about the idea.
     
    Keith Herring said he was “not comfortable” with rezoning, Andrew Ebel said zoning “should be left as it is” and Gloria Nix said she was concerned how it might impact surrounding property values.
     
    Boettcher pointed out that the property was initially zoned B-2, but was changed B-1 in what he called a “contentious rezoning” in 1996.
     
    “It was pretty unethical, the way it was done,” he said.
     
    Boettcher said his rezoning request was made in an attempt to spur sale of the three properties.
     
    “I’m trying to do something with it,” he told council members.
     
    Smith said one option would be to look at expanding what is allowed in B-1 zones under “special use permits.”
     
    The council could opt to add allowable uses, but each would have to be reviewed by the city’s Planning and Zoning Commission and then voted on by the city council.
     
    The council will also have final approval of rezoning the two blocks of South Market Street, after it is reviewed by P&Z.
     
    That process, said Mayor Milton Tate, will allow for public input.
     
    The council also:
     
    • Accepted a $67,000 bid for renovation of the air conditioning system at the fire department’s living quarters.
     
    • Accepted street and drainage improvements in the 24-lot Timber Oaks subdivision.
     
    • Approved a noise variance request for Christ Lutheran Church and Day School for an Oct. 17 carnival/fundraiser.
     
    • Authorized an agreement with the Texas Department of Transportation for downtown street closures Dec. 5, the date of the Christmas Stroll and parade.