Key to that recommendation is the feedback the commission received from the public during its Jan. 14 public hearing as it continues working on zoning amendments that will transition the property into a more viable commercial opportunity.
“We are not actually considering a specific application,” commission Chair Ross Gordon said during the meeting, referencing a request by SLS West Loop LP to develop a 33-acre plot on that stretch of land. “This is just establishing the framework by which an application could be submitted and the minimum requirements to be included in that application.”
The district's previous zone was a technical research park, which limits the potential permitted uses on the site. If recommended by the commission during its Feb. 11 meeting and formally adopted by City Council at its future meeting, the new North Bellaire Special Development District would allow for a range of uses, from movie theaters to restaurants to doctors offices, subject to planned development permits.
Eight members of the public spoke on the district, with a mix of support and opposition.
“I’m really looking forward to some new things happening in Bellaire on one hand, but on the other hand, I’m very concerned about what’s going on with a few issues,” resident Shelly Webb said.
Flooding, traffic, building setbacks and deed restrictions were some of Webb’s concerns, which the commission listed as items to consider for changes to the ordinance.
Others were more positive about future developments at the former Chevron property.
“I think the redevelopment will enhance the city, and I’m glad to see there is sound and thoughtful planning for current and future development plans,” Bellaire resident Neal Kaminsky said. “It will make us a more modern community.”
When the commission returns to vote on the special development district on Feb. 11, it will consider the following changes to the ordinance: resolving preferences on assisted living and nursing home inclusion in the zoning language, incorporating language as appropriate to restrict uses to what is allowed by deed restrictions, considering the question of a larger minimum setback, and highlighting the importance of mitigation of stormwater runoff and flooding.
The commission has been working with urban planning firm Kendig Keast Collaborative over the past year to formulate the language changes needed to create the special development district.
SLS West Loop has owned the property since 2018.