The commission voted unanimously during its Oct. 8 meeting and will send its recommendations to City Council, which will have the final say on whether to approve or deny the applications.
Evelyn’s Park Conservancy made the request, which sought a change to Bellaire’s code of ordinances to add "accessory parking" as one of the allowable specific uses in the R-5 residential zoning district, where the parking lot is located.
In the city staff's own assessment of the amendment request, officials recommended against moving forward, according to agenda documents.
Commissioner Weldon Taylor spoke against the amendments and specific use permit application during the Oct. 8 meeting.
The amendments, he said, “would allow for commercial use in the R-5 residential zone, striking a blow at the heart of residential protection and the security that zoning provides Bellaire citizens and property owners."
The request from Evelyn's Park came as a result from the initial permit for the parking lot being issued in error in January by the city of Bellaire, after which the contractor began construction on the lot, according to an Aug. 13 agenda report presented to the commission.
In March, the city provided notice to Evelyn’s Park that the parking lot is not permitted and ordered it be removed within 14 days. Before the 14-day deadline passed, Evelyn’s Park submitted applications for the zoning code amendment and a specific use permit, which would allow the parking lot if both the text amendments and specific use permit were approved.
Enforcement action on the parking lot is suspended until a final determination can be made by Bellaire City Council, according to a statement from the city. Should the council ultimately deny the amendments and specific use permit, the city could take anywhere from seven to 30 days to enforce the removal of the parking lot.
Bellaire City Council next meets Oct. 19, though this item has not yet been confirmed for its agenda.