The city of Bellaire held a public hearing and presentation March 18 on its comprehensive plan that included recommended updates from the Bellaire Planning & Zoning Commission.

The overview

The comprehensive plan is intended to serve as a guideline for all future development and redevelopment in the city for the next 20 years. The plan includes high-level goals for parks and recreation, public infrastructure, facilities, mobility, safety and flood risk mitigation.

Gary Mitchell, the city's planning consultant, said the two most important action items in the updated plan are related to land use and zoning issues.

Mitchell said the two most specific changes recommended by the Planning & Zoning Commission, which met March 7 to discuss the plan, are related to the Land Use and Community Character section and the Commercial Area Development and Enhancement section.

Zooming in

Action Item 2 of the Land Use and Community Character section relates to reviewing all aspects of planning and zoning, including proposals to:
  • Replace the current Urban Village-Transit zoning district with a new district
  • Revise certain standards for the Corridor Mixed-Use, or CMU, district
  • Revisit standards for the Residential Multi-Family district
  • Eliminate the Mulberry Residential Estate District, the Larch Lane Development District and the Light Industrial District
Some proposed changes to the code of ordinances include:
  • Removing multifamily residential as a potential use in CMU district
  • Revisiting the allowance of small-lot attached residential development
  • Eliminating the minimum height requirements and revisiting the maximum height
  • Providing for some front yard area in the Urban Village-Downtown, or UV-D, district
  • Revisiting the extent of lot coverage allowed in UV-D and CMU districts
  • Providing more explicit decision guidance for specific-use permits for drive-in and drive-thru arrangements
More details

Action Item 1 of the Commercial Area Development and Enhancement section relates to capital investments, including:
  • Designing and constructing signature gateway and streetscape treatments that can include monument signage at high-profile entry points into Bellaire on main corridors and at key internal intersections
  • Potential improvements to the city, such as installation of landscaped esplanades, more extensive landscaping within public rights of way and on private sites, special street lighting and traffic signal fixtures, enhanced traffic signals and street signage, overhead utility wires moved underground, and distinctive designs for intersection crosswalks and widened sidewalks
Next steps

The city of Bellaire started working on making changes to the comprehensive plan in May by hosting workshops and conducting community engagement sessions.

A draft of the updated plan, which was last updated in 2015, was released to the public in January.

Bellaire City Council will vote on the plan April 1.