A zoning change is allowing a Kwik Kar Lube & Auto Repair to replace a dilapidated building in Bee Cave on Hwy. 71.

On March 27, Bee Cave City Council voted 3-2 to approve a zoning change that would allow a Kwik Kar Lube & Auto Repair to open in the former location of the House of Harriette & John, which sold collectibles, at 12719 W. Hwy. 71. The property's new zoning, a planned development district, is less restrictive than its previous zoning, a town center district.

Mayor Caroline Murphy said the proposed zoning change generated more public feedback than any other Bee Cave issue in recent history. City leaders received more than 150 emails, and approximately 20 people spoke before City Council on the issue.

A majority of the emails were in opposition while most of the public comments were in support of the zoning change.

"We've heard a wide range of things to consider in our decision tonight," Murphy said prior to the vote. "We take this decision very, very seriously."

Councilman-elect Steve Braasch, who said he spoke on behalf of Harriette Wells and her son, Johnny Coultrup, said the former House of Harriette & John building has turned into a dilapidated facility in a location that is difficult to sell.

Allowing the zoning change and Kwik Kar to come in will improve the look of the property while generating additional tax revenue for the city, Braasch said.

"And [Kwik Kar] gives us a service that I think is good for the community," he said.

Wells and Coultrup ran the House of Harriette & John together until it closed in 2010. Wells died in 2011, and her son said he is disabled and needs to sell the land to help financially support himself.

Several residents and city leaders said that changing the zoning for a single lot could set a bad precedent. Councilwoman-elect Zelda Auslander said the zoning change would go against the Bee Cave Master Plan and that an auto repair shop near the city's entrance is a bad idea.

Resident John Colman added during public testimony that changing the zoning for the single lot would not be fair to the surrounding lots that are still zoned as town center district. He asked what would happen if the business fails and leaves the property as a planned development district.

"Are we solving a short-term problem and creating a long-term problem?" he asked.

But Councilman Mike Murphy said the Bee Cave Master Plan is supposed to serve as a guide that can be altered if necessary. A zoning change was necessary for the Hill Country Galleria and Shops at the Galleria to be built, and Murphy said the developments are proof that zoning changes can work.

Greg Christopher, owner of the Shops at the Galleria, said a Kwik Kar would be better than an outdated building on the property.

Adrian Overstreet, owner of the Hill Country Galleria, said while a zoning change and Kwik Kar is not ideal, he agreed it would be better than what is there.

"I don't want another Planet K," he said.

Coultrup urged council members to approve the zoning change as the Shops and Galleria supported the change.

"For six years, we have tried to sell the land following your rules," he said. "It is impossible."

Several people who spoke before City Council said the town center zoning is impractical for the stretch of property of Hwy. 71 that includes the former House of Harriette & John building.

Robert Harrison said property off of a six-lane highway with a 50-mph speed limit is not a town center. There is no sidewalk or crosswalk near the property.

Bill Pohl, who owns the brokerage firm that has been trying to sell the House of Harriette & John property for six years, said a zoning change and bringing in Kwik Kar is the only viable option.

"I have no idea where to take this property if this doesn't work," he said.

Jim Withers, who will open Kwik Kar along with his wife, said a Kwik Kar will be a good fit for the area. The zoning change will allow Kwik Kar to do minor auto repair in addition to servicing a vehicle.

"We think there is a need, or else we wouldn't be here," Withers said.