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Council moves forward with zoning change at 1924 Avenue H

The Levelland City Council voted Monday night to change the zoning of the area at 1924 Avenue H from an SF-1 restricted single family district to a B-2 general business district.

The 6.245 acres of land located at the address is included in the 60 acres the city owns, where the Levelland-Oxy Sports Complex is currently located. About half the land is being used for the sports complex while the other half is being leased to a farmer.

            Erik Rejino, assistant city manager, said during the planning stages of the sports complex, the entire property was master planned for full development as need arises and funds are made available. Rejino said all but approximately 6.25 acres are needed for a fully developed sports complex.

            The remaining acreage is located on the corner of S. Highway 385 and Equalier Road. Rejino said the acreage has generated some interest from a local business person, Chad Read. Due to the commercial interest in the past and current interest, Rejino said the city is recommending the property be rezoned from an SF-1 Restricted Family District to a B-2 General Business District.

            The planning and zoning commission held a public hearing on the issue on July 25 and is also recommending the property be rezoned.

            Several city residents attended the meeting to voice their opinions on the rezoning and the possibility of a convenience store being place on the specific acreage of land.

Cody Poage said his main concern was whether the city would open up the property for bids.

            “One thing that bothers me is when we first put all this together, nobody would respond about what that acreage was for,” Poage said. “I asked several times…it wasn’t for sale. It was stated that it would never be for sale because it was a gift and would offend…Now there’s a change of pace.”

            “If it’s for sale, our business would be interested in buying it as well,” Poage said. “Does that go out to public bid?”

            He also said that when the voters approved the bond issue for the Oxy Sports Complex, the city council said that land would never be for sale.

            H.L. Shakespeare, who lives at 1938 Avenue H, adjacent to acreage in question, said he didn’t want a “truck stop” next door to his home.

            “I’m not opposed to a truck stop, I’m just opposed to the location,” Shakespeare said. “That’s a residential area, always has been; ought to be what we keep it as.”

            Bill Palmer, local business person, said his concern was the safety of the location of the truck stop. Palmer said he considered a truck stop on a plat of land on Highway 114 near Alamo Road and decided against it because of the proximity to the schools.

            “We’ve been hit up about putting one out there, but if we did that and one of those trucks hit a bus, I could never live with myself again,” Palmer said. “I’m not trying to stop anything, I’m just thinking about the oilfield people; they are going to go straight down [Equalizer] to get back to the oilfield. If the people who come to the baseball complex think that’s dangerous, they will quit coming and that’s one of the best things we’ve got right now.”

            Chad Read confirmed he was in fact the person who was interested in the acreage at 1924 Avenue H. He said that the store he envisioned being placed on the land was in fact not a “truck stop” as it had been referred to as during the public hearing by several speakers.

            “I would like to get some things straight; what everyone is calling truck stop, it’s a convenience store,” Read said. “I want to make it accessible for bigger trucks with trailers, make it easier to get in get out. If you look around town at the diesel places it’s not easy to get in and get out of some of our establishments we have here. Also…I’m trying to get something back on this side of town to service this side of town.”

            Palmer asked Read if there would be parking available for overnight truck parking. Read assured him that there would not be any overnight parking available and the convenience store would not be open 24 hours.

            “It will not be open 24 hours, it will be just like a convenience store anywhere else in town,” Read said. “There will be no truck parking overnight, it’s basically for, and like you said, oilfield. What this is doing is servicing the oilfield.”

            The public hearing closed at 7:40 p.m. and the council subsequently convened into executive session. At 8:25 p.m., the council returned and voted to approve the zoning change from an SF-1 Restrict Residential District to a B-2 General Business District.

The council approved the ordinance to rezone the area on first reading Monday. There will be a second reading of the ordinance before it becomes effective.

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