Apparently some of our zoning ordinances aren’t in line the the Comprehensive Plan, and the Planning and Zoning Commission is tasked with review of those “inconsistencies”. Although the Comp Plan is just that, a plan, and one that is constantly changing depending on who’s in charge, some civic leaders insist that it should set the zoning plans for the City.
P&Z held a Workshop on this subject on April 14, 2022. Find a link to that meeting here. It’s an important subject and the presentation was well-done. Drop down the agenda below the video and click on Comprehensive Plan Update. It’s about an hour into the meeting.
Unfortunately the UV-D and CMU were not part of the discussion and no documents were included in the Agenda. The focus was on mixed-use and multi-unit housing districts. Several areas were mentioned:
- MRED, the Mulberry Residential Estate District;
- R-M.2-0, residential office/mixed along Bissonnet;
- LLDD, Larch Lane district, allowing detached, attached and duplex single family dwellings; possible redevelopment of the CenterPoint property at the northeast corner of Bissonnet and the RR tracks, currently zoned
- LI, light industrial;
- and the Pont Alba apartments, across from the CenterPoint LI site, currently zoned R-MF, residential multi-family.
Perhaps it’s time for a refresher course on past zoning decisions. The most recent change, in 2022, is the Chevron site, now the North Bellaire Special Development District, and there’s plenty of current information on that ordinance. So let’s start with the rezoning in 2014 of the downtown area, the Urban Village-Downtown, now anchored by H-E-B.
Recently I saw a discussion on Nextdoor about thefts in the lower level parking lot of H-E-B. What many Bellaire residents don’t realize is that the zoning in the UV-D almost forces new construction businesses to build lower-level internal parking, including properties on the north side of Spruce that back up to residences. Mixed-use/multi-family (retail/apartments and/or condos) was included, even promoted, when this new ordinance was approved.
Regulations for new construction in the UV-D include a minimum building height of 30 feet, zero setback at the front property line for at least 75% of a commercial building, and 90% lot coverage. The only parking available at the front of a new construction in the UV-D is public on-street parking. This will apply to the Randalls site, too.
Why not adopt the previous zoning for the downtown area, CCD-1, shown in blue, and CCD-2, shown in purple? They made sense and served the City for decades. Lower height of 2-stories in CCD-1, close to residential areas, taller buildings up to 6-stories in the central area for CCD-2. Remove the onerous requirements for 30′ minimum heights and no allowance for pull-in parking.
Remove the unsightly public parking areas and return to our 60′ wide commercial streets. Attract those cute shops, outdoor cafes, and boutiques!
Here are a few past BellaireCivicClub.com articles: