Bellaire City Council shoots down request to keep overflow parking lot

Bellaire parking lot vote
Bellaire City Council has voted against a zoning amendment request that could have allowed the Evelyn’s Park overflow parking lot to remain in place. (Community Impact Newspaper staff)

Bellaire City Council has voted against a zoning amendment request that could have allowed the Evelyn’s Park overflow parking lot to remain in place. (Community Impact Newspaper staff)

An overflow parking lot at 4300 Bellaire Boulevard that would’ve been used by Evelyn’s Park and Southside Commons has been officially denied by the Bellaire City Council.

Immediately following a public hearing that saw about a dozen Bellaire residents speak against approving the lot, the council voted 7-0 Nov. 16 to deny an amendment to the city’s zoning ordinance that could have allowed the parking lot to remain in place.

A motion was made to deny the request by Council Member Nathan Wesely, who serves as the council’s liaison to the city’s Planning and Zoning Commission, which had previously held its own public hearing on the parking lot. Council member Catherine Lewis seconded.

“At the crux of the matter is whether we would allow a commercial entity in the R-5,” Wesley said, referring to the residential zone where the parking lot is located. “I’d be against that on principle, and on approving a zoning change after the fact to accommodate a developer.”

The council’s vote comes after the Planning and Zoning Commission voted unanimously Oct. 8 to recommend denial of the text amendments and specific use permit. City council had the final say on whether to approve or deny the applications.

Had the zoning changes been approved, Bellaire’s code of ordinances would allow for accessory parking under specific uses in the R-5 residential zoning district, where the parking lot is located.

Lewis took particular issue with this specific zoning allowance.

“I don’t see this as accessory parking, but rather it’s offsite parking,” Lewis said. “It invites offsite uses that are not contemplated in the zoning code.”

Bellaire mayor pro tem Gus Pappas, meanwhile, highlighted the safety concerns raised by several residents during the public hearing portion of the meeting as it relates to having vehicles parked and driving near and around residences, and echoed other council members about zoning considerations.

Council member Michael Fife focused on beautification in her argument for voting in favor of denying the requests.

“I certainly do not think it belongs on our front door," she said. “To me, it’s like putting your washer and dryer in your living room,” she said.

The decision comes after the city of Bellaire issued a permit for the parking lot in error in January, and after the contractor began construction on the lot, according to an Aug. 13 agenda report presented to the Planning and Zoning Commission.

In March, once the error was discovered, the city provided notice to Evelyn’s Park that the parking lot was not permitted, and ordered it be removed within 14 days. Before the 14-day deadline passed, Evelyn’s Park submitted the applications for the zoning code amendment and a specific use permit.

The city could take up to 30 days to enforce the removal of the parking lot.
By Hunter Marrow
Hunter Marrow came to Community Impact Newspaper in January 2020. Before that, Hunter covered local news in Ontario, OR for three years, covering municipal issues, crime, and education across Malheur County and across the border into Idaho.


“Hope is on the horizon,” Fort Bend County Judge KP George said at a press conference Jan. 4. “The vaccine is here.”
Vaccine distribution starts in Fort Bend County and more top Houston-area news

Read the most popular news from the past week from the Houston area.

Novel at River Oaks
Inner Loop apartment rents tumbled by as much as 16% in 2020

"I would hope that these operators in those areas—at some point, you can’t lower rents anymore. They just have to wait for people to show up," ApartmentData's Bruce McClenny said.

The first-ever Houston Reads Day will take place March 2. (Courtesy Pexels)
Volunteers needed for inaugural literacy-focused Houston Reads Day

Volunteers will read to 10,000 kindergarten through third-grade students.

One local health system leader said he expects everyone, including those under age 65, will have access to the vaccine within the next 90 days. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Houston-area health system leaders talk progress, hurdles during COVID-19

Officials from CHI St. Luke’s Health and UTMB Health said community members must remain vigilant as case counts climb but that they expect the current surge to peak by early February.

During a North Houston Association meeting Jan. 20, Jazz Hamilton—first vice president with the Retail Brokerage Services Group for CBRE—discussed how the future of retail will likely be shaped by the conveniences to which consumers have become accustomed amid the coronavirus pandemic. (Ronald Winters/Community Impact Newspaper)
Pandemic-induced retail conveniences are here to stay, official says

According to Jazz Hamilton, first vice president with the Retail Brokerage Services group for CBRE, between January and November of 2020, consumers spent almost $550 billion online—a 33% increase from 2019.

The estimated number of active COVID-19 cases in Harris County has surpassed 50,000, reaching 51,362 as of the most recent data Jan. 20, according to the Harris County Public Health Department. (Community Impact staff)
Harris County coronavirus count: Active cases top 50,000

See the latest trends on COVID-19 in Harris County.

A winning bidder has been selected to buy out francesca’s clothing boutique store. (Hunter Marrow/Community Impact Newspaper)
Winning bidder selected for francesca’s sale

Francesca’s was purchased for $18 million by TerraMar.

In addition to vaccine hubs, there are also smaller community vaccine providers throughout Texas, such as pharmacies, that may also have the vaccine available. (Eva Vigh/Community Impact Newspaper)
EXPLAINED: When, where and how Texans can receive the COVID-19 vaccine

As Texas is still in the early stages of rolling out the COVID-19 vaccine, many Texans are still unsure about where, when and how they can get inoculated.

The barbecue eatery is the second Killen's Restaurant Group venture to launch in The Woodlands area. (Courtesy Killen's Barbecue)
Killen's Barbecue opens in The Woodlands and more Houston-area news

Read the latest business and community news from the Houston area.

Mayor Turner and the honor guard.
Houston joins nationwide coronavirus memorial, lights landmarks

The memorial was planned as a component of President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris' inauguration.

Feeding Texas hosted a Jan. 19 webinar to discuss legislative highlights for the 87th Texas Legislature. (Screenshot courtesy Feeding Texas)
Food insecurity in Texas' 87th Legislature: Hunger relief organization Feeding Texas to propose legislation addressing hunger

Hunger relief organization Feeding Texas hosted a webinar Jan. 19 to discuss increasing funding and accessibility for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program in the 87th legislative session.