STAFF WRITER JARED FIELDS
Not only were the Marble Falls City Council chambers full, but at least a dozen other people spilled out into the hallway during the Oct. 2 regular meeting for public hearings about proposed changes to the city’s zoning map and and zoning codes.
Residents and representatives made comments and asked questions during the feedback sessions for City Council and city staff to consider before a planned vote is held at the next regular meeting Oct. 16.
Public comments ranged from specific concerns from people about their property to encouragement and from pass the changes to step back and take more time.
Jason Coleman, who serves on the planning and zoning commission, praised city staff for the massive undertaking. However, he also was one of the voices proposing a pause on moving ahead as he questioned if the changes would prohibit development at the pace the city has seen in recent months.
“If the proposed changes would not allow those to be built, then I am opposed,” he said.
Later in his comments, Coleman closed by saying, “I suggest we take the pressure off the process and take time to produce a product that can pass with confidence that we did our best.”
No action was taken on either item, and Mayor John Packer stressed to those in attendance that the council and staff wanted to take the feedback into consideration before the ordinances go to a vote.
“In the next couple of weeks, we’ll be addressing some of those concerns,” Packer said the day after the meeting. “I know it’s a tough thing to pass, but we really have to do it and trust the staff and trust future councils to do common sense type of things when making adjustments.”
During the Oct. 2 meeting, Packer and City Council members made similar comments.
“This is locked in Jello,” council member Dee Haddock said. “Some movement is allowed.”
Packer addressed some of the individual concerns as well.
“We’re never going to complete it if we try to write (an ordinance) that takes care of every single lot perfectly,” Packer said. “It’s why we have an appeals process.”
Current land use regulations were adopted in October 1988. Since then, the city has determined that zoning codes and the map need a complete overhaul.