Another Developer Wants A Variance – For 1.99 Acres on Bissonnet @ 610

Why will the Board of Adjustment, rather than Planning and Zoning, hear a request on September 17th (7 PM) from a developer for an amendment to a zoning ordinance for a Planned Development? Apparently it’s semi-complicated.

This is  part of an agenda item from a Plannning and Zoning Public Hearing this past January regarding the AT&T Property at 6500 West Loop in Bellaire:   

Docket # PD-2019-02: January 9, 2020: Public hearing on an application filed by Cushman & Wakefield ….. to allow the existing single tenant building within PD-9 and PD-10 to be used for multi-tenant office and remove from PD-10 approximately 1.9927 acres located at the southwest corner of Bissonnet Street and the West Loop 610 freeway (delineated in the plat at left).   But the actual application was never submitted or approved by P&Z.

Since that public hearing on January 9, 2020, no further application has been submitted to P&Z to amend the ordinance, either by Cushman & Wakefield or SBC/AT&T, and nothing has changed in the current zoning for PD-9 and PD-10.  Where does that leave the 1.9927 acres?  Located in the Loop 610 District, which requires a minimum of 4 acres for a Planned Development?

Now Bissonnet Street Ventures, LLC, the owner of that 1.9927 acres, has chosen to pursue a new strategy to amend the PD-9 and PD-10 ordinances by applying to Bellaire’s Board of Adjustment for a variance request.  The BOA will consider the request on September 17, 2020, at 7:00 PM.  Find the Agenda here.

The request would allow the lot coverage for the parcel to be calculated separately from the rest of of the Planned Development, and would allow 60% coverage for office use and 75% coverage for residential use. 

The agenda item states that such a variance would exceed the maximum currently allowed for the Loop 610 District (24-541). But the Loop 610 District, under which these PDs were granted, already seems to allow maximum site coverage at 60% for office plaza up to 6 stories, and 75% for residential, up to 3 stories in height.  Granted, trying to interpret our zoning ordinances sometimes feels as though one is reading in a foreign language, but that appears to be the zoning – on 4 acres or more.

Site Plans from the Agenda

And even though the parcel of land is no longer owned by SBC/AT&T, the owner’s request could affect the zoning for the entire PD-9 and PD-10 area. 

Why is this even being discussed when there seems to be no separation of the Bissonnet Street Ventures land from the SBC/AT&T land?

Why is this site coverage the only item being requested for a variance?  What’s the point?  The owner has never requested approval of a site plan, a development, any proposed structures for this small parcel, or a rezoning of this land.  

Once again we seem to have an owner who knowingly purchased a property that cannot be developed under the current zoning.  Now that owner wants the zoning for site coverage changed on a parcel so small it does not fit the current zoning requirement.  And rather than return to Planning and Zoning to make a request, he has turned to the Board of Adjustment.  

How would additional impermeable surfaces and loss of trees and green space impact the drainage in the area?

Find some history here: In late 2018 SBC/AT&T  sold off 1.9927 acres of their property at the corner of Bissonnet and Loop 610, part of PD-9 and PD-10 in the Loop 610 District, to a developer, Atilla Tuna of Bissonnet Street Ventures, LLC.

At the Planning and Zoning Workshop held on November 14, 2019, a spokesman from Identity Architects representing the developer described some preliminary plans for a proposed planned development at 6400 West Loop – the 1.99 acre parcel.

He described an office building with a height of 160 feet (approximately 14 to 16 stories) on about 2 acres that would include a mix of retail, restaurants, offices and parking.  The new development has apparently been marketed online for sometime.  

A more in-depth presentation for that development was made at the December 12, 2019, P&Z Workshop by Identity Architects. However no application for any change to the current zoning was submitted to P&Z by Bissonnet Street Ventures. 

But the current Planned Development use in the Loop 610 District calls for a maximum height of 6 stories, not 14, on a minimum lot size of 4 acres, not 2.  And no retail is allowed.

Old time Bellaire residents recall that part of the 1975 agreement with Prudential Insurance, the original owner of the AT&T building, included a promise to provide a parkland area at the corner of Bissonnet and Loop 610.  However the document or documents, if any, and the site development plans regarding any agreement, seem to have been misfiled or lost.  View the original Prudential Insurance ordinance here.

Find the Loop 610 District Zoning Ordinance here

Find the Bellaire Zoning Map here

Email the Board of Adjustment: boa@bellairetx.gov 

About Jane McNeel

Bellaire resident since 1956. Email: bellairebcc@gmail.com. Find more information on 'About This Site' in the main menu.
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