Magnolia Planning and Zoning Comission votes to loosen restrictions on commercial lot size for proposed developments

The commission's recommendation must be followed by public hearings and a vote by City Council members before the change will take effect. (Anna Lotz/Community Impact Newspaper)
The commission's recommendation must be followed by public hearings and a vote by City Council members before the change will take effect. (Anna Lotz/Community Impact Newspaper)

The commission's recommendation must be followed by public hearings and a vote by City Council members before the change will take effect. (Anna Lotz/Community Impact Newspaper)

In a 6-1 vote Feb. 20, the city of Magnolia's Planning and Zoning Commission voted to end the requirement of new commercial developments needing a minimum 2-acre lot in some areas of the city.

However, before the change can be implemented, the commission must recommend the change to City Council—who will then vote on removing the lot size requirement—pending public hearings by the commission and council, said Tana Ross, economic development coordinator and planning technician for the city.

Commission members said they believed the city's requirement was too restrictive compared to those of neighboring cities, making it less attractive for companies to start businesses in Magnolia. The 2-acre lot size requirement applies to new nonresidential and commerical developments in Magnolia.


Commissioner Tom Mayhew was the only dissenting vote; he said he believes the current use of a variance works for the city when determining whether to approve proposed commercial developments and that he believes having proposed developments be considered on a case-by-case basis is a better option than ending the minimum acreage requirement.

Although the commission voted to end the lot size requirement, commission members said during a workshop prior to the meeting that the frontage portion of the lot size requirement is necessary for safer traffic, as having 200 feet of frontage prevents businesses from putting driveways right next to each other. As such, the frontage requirement remains in place.



When compared to The Woodlands and the cities of Tomball, Montgomery and Conroe, Magnolia has the highest minimum lot size requirement for a proposed development, according to documents presented by city staff.

Anne Sundquist, vice chairperson of the commission, said she believes fewer restrictions are better for new businesses.

“We are by far the strictest compared to other places,” she said. “We don’t want something that would drive business elsewhere.”

Tomball's requirements are a minimum lot size of 60 feet by 100 square feet with a maximum lot size of 10,000 square feet, according to information presented during the meeting. Areas like The Woodlands and Montgomery have no minimum size requirements for commercial lots but have requirements on how far back buildings must be from the street pavement, according to documents provided during the meeting.

Commission Chairperson Robert Franklin said more restrictions are not beneficial for city development.

“As a business owner, [when] I see one [city as] more restrictive than the other, I am going to the other,” he said.



MOST RECENT

Texas Commissioner of Education Mike Morath announced in a June 30 State Board of Education meeting that students will be taking the STAAR in the 2020-21 school year. (Courtesy Pixabay)
Education organizations call for STAAR requirements to be waived another year

Gov. Greg Abbott waived the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness, or STAAR, testing requirements in March of earlier this year in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

With a clinical background in internal, pulmonary and critical care medicine, Corry has been with BCM for 20 years. He now focuses primarily on inflammatory lung diseases, such as asthma and smoking-related chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases. (Graphic by Ronald Winters/Community Impact Newspaper)
Q&A: Baylor College of Medicine's Dr. David Corry discusses immunity, vaccine production amid COVID-19 pandemic

Rapid development and distribution of a vaccine worldwide and successful achievement of herd immunity will be key players in determining the lifespan of the COVID-19 pandemic, said Dr. David Corry, a professor of Medicine in the Immunology, Allergy and Rheumatology Section at Baylor College of Medicine.

The county's active case count rose July 10 after three straight days of declines. (Community Impact staff)
Montgomery County adds 40 active COVID-19 cases, reaches 3,000 cumulative cases July 10

Five new hospitalizations and 87 new recoveries were also reported July 10.

The new partnership will provide on-site, same-day testing and results for assisted-living facility staff and their residents. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
State announces partnership for increased COVID-19 testing for patients, staff at assisted-living facilities, nursing homes

These test sites will help the state work toward the goal of processing up to 100,000 tests in the first month.

Pet Supplies Plus opened a new location on FM 1488 in May, and will hold grand opening events July 11-12. (Courtesy Pet Supplies Plus)
Pet Supplies Plus opens new FM 1488 location north of The Woodlands

The national pet supplies chain opened the store in late May.

Texas Medical Center reports only 4% uptick in ICU bed use despite continued COVID-19 case increases

Compared to 1,350 total intensive care units in use June 30, Texas Medical Center has seen only a slight uptick in occupancies since then, with 1,394 reported July 9.

When interest rates are low, homeowners may look to save money by refinancing, which means getting a new mortgage with a better term or interest rate to lower payments. (Source: Matt Frankel/Community Impact Newspaper)
Refinancing a home, police departments address protests: Popular news this week from Greater Houston

Read popular stories from the Greater Houston area on Community Impact Newspaper’s website.

Tomball ISD's plans include continuing to provide bus transportation to all families who desire it—although district officials encourage families to provide their own transportation if possible—lunch procedures varying by campus, and limiting large group activities, including recess. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Here’s what bus transportation, lunch and recess will look like this fall for Tomball ISD students

Families who can provide transportation for their student to and from school are encouraged to do so, Chief Operating Officer Steven Gutierrez said during the meeting.

Lone Star College had almost 3,000 foreign students attend in the spring semester this year. (Andrew Christman/Community Impact Newspaper)
Immigration and Customs Enforcement rules could affect thousands of Lone Star College students

Lone Star College is currently unsure how a recent ICE rule will be affected its foreign student population.

Coronavirus cases continue to rise in Harris County. (Community Impact Staff)
Harris County coronavirus count: 907 cases, 12 deaths confirmed July 9

The 12 deaths—the largest single day total in Harris County since the pandemic began—brings the total COVID-19 death count in the county to 423.

Tomball ISD outlined its health guidelines, transportation logistics and virtual instruction models for the fall semester during the five-hour July 9 meeting that had up to 1,000 participants tuned in via Zoom. (Screenshot via Zoom)
NEW: Tomball ISD families must select face-to-face or virtual option by July 24

The district outlined its health guidelines, transportation logistics and virtual instruction models for the fall semester during the five-hour July 9 meeting that had up to 1,000 participants tuned in via Zoom.

Montgomery County's active COVD-19 cases total 2,876. (Community Impact Newspaper staff)
Montgomery County reports decrease in active coronavirus cases for third day in a row

An additional 122 people have recovered, and the seven-day new case average is currently decreasing.