With the council’s vote, the 33-acre property in the southeast quadrant of the intersection of FM 646 and Caroline Street will remain poised for commercial use.
Neighbors who live near the property said rezoning it to residential would create more traffic and drainage problems in the area. Residents already are dealing with both issues and do not want to see them become worse with the creation of several residences in the area, they said.
Council Member Larry Millican said the city is trying to promote commercial development and does not understand why, then, the city would want to rezone commercial property to residential. FM 646 improvements are in the state’s transportation improvement plan, and building new houses that will butt up against the road before construction begins is “a recipe for trouble,” Millican said.
Council Member Hank Dugie said neighbors are usually in support of rezoning nearby land from commercial to residential because many people do not want to live near commercial development. In this case, Dugie had not heard one comment from any neighbor who supported rezoning the land to residential, he said.
Council Member Chad Tressler said the land was originally zoned residential but was rezoned in 2005 to general commercial, and the developer now wants to reverse course. Giving up commercially zoned land is not a good thing, Tressler said.
Not all council members were opposed to rezoning, however. Mayor Pat Hallisey and Council Member Todd Kinsey both voted in favor.
Kinsey was on the council when the property was zoned from residential to commercial. The residents telling the council not to rezone the property then were the same ones telling the council to not rezone it now, he said. Kinsey said he is in favor of the rezoning with the restrictions the developer said would be put in place to mitigate traffic and drainage concerns.
The vote to rezone failed with two in favor and five opposed. Council Member Nick Long was absent.
IN OTHER BUSINESS
League City City Council on Dec. 17 resurfaced the argument councilors had Dec. 3.
During the Dec. 3 council meeting, Hallisey recommended evenly split votes allocated to the city to two League City residents—Donald Gartman and Tressler—who wanted to serve on the Galveston Central Appraisal District’s board of directors. Dugie instead made a motion to split the votes so Tressler would receive the majority because Gartman did not have a chance to win a seat on the board with how other municipalities’ votes were shaking out.
Hallisey said Dugie did not have the right to make such a motion, according to the city’s charter, which states solely the mayor can make appointments to boards and committees, Hallisey said.
Dugie pointed out the charter references city board and committees, and the Galveston Central Appraisal District’s board of directors is a county body. Furthermore, council was voting on how to allocate votes, not on who to nominate to a governmental body, Dugie said.
Hallisey, who was on a 2018 committee to help clarify the charter’s language, said the spirit of the charter is the mayor makes appointments for boards and committees on which city residents will serve. The exchange got heated, with the mayor eventually saying he will take his concerns to the attorney general’s office.
On Dec. 17, Hallisey reiterated his points for several minutes. He said he has no problem with Tressler serving on the Galveston Central Appraisal District’s board of directors, as some have speculated, but that he wants the council to follow the rules laid out in the charter when it comes to appointments.
“Without this charter, there is chaos,” Hallisey said.
Tressler said he disagreed with Hallisey’s interpretation of the charter.
“I fully invite the attorney general to weigh in on this,” Tressler said. “I would like this to be done so we don’t have any more 20-minute rants about nothing.”
Dugie said he agreed with Tressler’s interpretation. He said he loved that Hallisey is committed to defending the charter and that he bears no ill will to the mayor for his interpretation of its language.
Hallisey told Community Impact Newspaper last week he still intends to take the matter to the attorney general’s office.