Bellaire council approves new mixed-use district, with amendments

The property at 4800 Fournace Place is a part of a new mixed-use district approved by Bellaire City Council on May 24. (Hunter Marrow/Community Impact Newspaper)
The property at 4800 Fournace Place is a part of a new mixed-use district approved by Bellaire City Council on May 24. (Hunter Marrow/Community Impact Newspaper)

The property at 4800 Fournace Place is a part of a new mixed-use district approved by Bellaire City Council on May 24. (Hunter Marrow/Community Impact Newspaper)

After over a year of crafting, debating, hearing from residents, and hosting multiple workshops from both the city’s planning and zoning commission and city council, the city of Bellaire’s new North Bellaire Special Development District has been approved.

The approval came after a nearly six-hour special meeting on May 24 by city council designed to hammer out any additional amendments to the zoning document ahead of a vote.

The council ultimately voted 4-3 to approve an amended version of the zoning document, which creates the new mixed-use district located around the former Chevron campus at 4800 Fournace Place, but also stretches from South Rice Avenue to Loop 610 and from Fournace Place to the residential homes on Mayfair Street. The district was formerly zoned as a Technical Research Park District, which officials said limited the potential commercial uses for the site.

Council members Catherine Lewis, Nathan Wesely and Jim Hotze voted against approving the district.

“I’m sorry that this council hasn’t seen fit to make any significant changes to the zoning proposal from planning and zoning,” said Lewis, who outlined in detail several of her concerns with the district, including building shadows on residences, and traffic and environmental concerns. “I don’t think it provides enough protection for the neighborhoods to the north and to the south. I’m going to vote against it as a whole because [the Technical Research Park District] was a better ordinance in terms of protecting us.”

Her comments come after some residents expressed concerns earlier this year about the potential effects of new development on traffic and flooding, among other areas.

The council approved several amendments to the zoning language before approving the new district as a whole. Restaurants, for example, were added as a contemplated use, while the council voted to strike not only payday loan institutions as a contemplated use, but also indoor movie theaters.

The council also amended the zoning language to increase setbacks from 35 feet—as recommended by the city’s planning and zoning commission—to 65 feet for commercial properties that border residences along the district.

The approved zoning document also requires any proposed development to go through the planned development process, which tailors zoning regulations to the specific needs of a project plan and the unique characteristics of a site. Developments will also require approval from both the planning and zoning commission and the city council.

“I think nothing has been decided, and all of this is before us, but there is a framework by which something is going to be presented, and I think that we have done that,” Mayor Pro Tem Gus Pappas said. “I think that all of those issues are still fertile ground for discussion when an actual plan is before us.”
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.


The text of General Order No. 3, which Gordon Granger issued from Galveston in June 1865 to explicitly liberate enslaved Black Texans, runs across the bottom of the mural. (Colleen Ferguson/Community Impact Newspaper)
‘I am filled’: Houston-Galveston area celebrates first Juneteenth as federal holiday

See how local policymakers, historians, artists and philanthropists honored the Juneteenth holiday at its birthplace with the dedication of a 5,000-square-foot mural.

The Texas Central rail connection from Dallas to Houston will feature a bullet train similar to this one. (Courtesy Texas Central Partners/Community Impact Newspaper)
Texas Supreme Court declines to review high-speed rail case, freeing company up to use eminent domain

Texas Central, the company looking to build a 236-mile high-speed rail line connecting Houston and Dallas, has been given a big win in an ongoing legal battle over whether the company is legally recognized as a "railroad company" under state law.

The East River 9 golf course and Riverside Houston restaurant will be overlooking the city of Houston skyline. (Rendering of Riverhouse Houston; Courtesy of Sterling Illustration)
Golf course, restaurant coming on bank of Buffalo Bayou

A new public golf course and restaurant are coming to Houston’s Fifth Ward on the bank of Buffalo Bayou in early 2022.

There will be various events across the Houston area celebrating the Fourth of July, including League City's Fireworks Extravaganza. (Courtesy of League City)
12 Fourth of July weekend events, celebrations to attend in the Greater Houston area

Here are 12 Fourth of July weekend events throughout the Houston region.

ribbon cutting
Nearly $400M project to boost Houston-area water supply by up to 500M gallons a day

The project has been in development for over 50 years and broke ground in 2017.

Following Hurricane Harvey, debris lined the streets in many parts of Harris County. (Danica Lloyd/Community Impact Newspaper)
After Department of Housing and Urban Development denies request, Texas General Land Office drafting plan to subaward Harris County $750M for flood mitigation

The Texas General Land Office now plans to subaward Harris County flood mitigation funding after the county was left out of recent Hurricane Harvey relief funds.

Harris County Pets facilitates pet adoptions, foster placements and more. (Courtesy Harris County Pets)
Harris County Pets temporarily waives adoption fees to control increase of population

Harris County Pets has exceeded its capacity to house its growing pet population, officials said.

West Elm opens a new Houston location in Rice Village on June 17. (Courtesy West Elm)
Home decor company West Elm opens in Rice Village June 17

West Elm will open at the former location of Urban Outfitters.

Americans spent 44% more shopping on websites, including Amazon, in 2020 than in 2019. (Courtesy Amazon)
Surge in online shopping strains Houston’s distribution channels

Online spending in the U.S. was up 44% from 2019 to 2020, and transportation expert Bill Eisele said this uptick has put a strain on the region’s transportation system.

According to county officials, 40% of the $125 billion in damage caused by Hurricane Harvey took place within Harris County. (Shawn Arrajj/Community Impact Newspaper)
Texas General Land Office says it is 'not feasible' to request $750M in federal flood aid within 30 days

Houston-area officials ask for 30-day-dealine on the Texas General Land Office's formal request for $750 million in federal flood aid funding, but GLO says it is not possible.