Tomball City Council members voted 3-2 to rezone a 1-acre property on the corner of Brown Road and Baker Drive from residential to office district at a July 20 meeting.
Craig Meyers, community development director for Tomball, said the property was not recommended for rezoning by the Tomball Planning and Zoning Commission but was recommended by city staff.
Meyers said comments against rezoning were received from residents in the area, as well as a petition signed by 36 residents against the rezoning.
“Comments reference opposition to commercial uses, but the office district uses are much less intense than commercial,” Meyers said.
Clayton Benedict of Straight Path Diligence, who is representing the property owner, said the owners want to capitalize on their investment and houses are unrealistic for the small property.
“It may be hard to sell the homes at this site,” he said. “[It would be] impractical to build three homes on a 1-acre tract.”
Benedict said the owners tried to rezone the property for a convenience store in 2017, which he was not a part of, and failed as a result of comments from the community.
“Given the sensitivities of the site, the previous zoning attempt and resident pushback, we have decided to pursue a use that is considered much more suitable in a neighborhood setting,” he said. “And that is office use.”
The offices will be filled with tenants in professional services, Benedict said, including architects, lawyers and therapists.
David Tegtmeier, a resident near the 1-acre plot of land, called in to the meeting and voiced his concerns about rezoning.
“It is not in the community’s best interest to rezone the property,” he said. “Everybody in the area appreciates the residential feel.”
Council Member Mark Stoll voted in favor of the rezoning, citing the difficulty to build homes on the site and preventing future councils from approving retail or more commercial zoning requests.
“I don’t ever see residential homes being built there because of its location,” he said. “A council in the future could approve it to be retail, but we could stop it today to put an office in there.”
Council Member Lori Klein Quinn, who voted against the rezoning, said she understood the request because it was the best option for the landowner.
“The highest and best use for the landowner is not the highest and best use for your neighbors,” she said.