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City hosting second town hall on zoning review

The City of Levelland will host a town hall meeting to gather input from citizens regarding a comprehensive zoning review on Tuesday, February 8, at 6 p.m. at the civic center in the Levelland City Park, located AT 1901 McKinley Street.

The topics up for discussion are those that were previously addressed in the first town hall, held in October last year, which include:

–Review accessory building and carport setbacks;
–Review and discuss food trucks/mobile businesses; and
–Discuss and review the parking of a temporary storage container, boats, RVs, etc., in residential neighborhoods.

Joe Shedd, chief building inspector said one of the suggestions from citizens who attended the first town hall was to gather a larger group of citizens.

At the first meeting, the planning and zoning commissioner discussed carports. Currently, the city has an ordinance in place that doesn’t allow residents to put a carport on their property.

The Zoning Board of Adjustment had been issuing variances for carports, but Shedd said he was made aware by the City Attorney that was not okay.

“It was brought to my attention and we had to stop allowing it,” Shedd said.

In the zoning review, the task force and planning and zoning commission has proposed to allow carports under certain parameters.

One of those parameters includes a five foot setback from the property line.

“The setback is in our safety code that residents can’t have anything within five feet of their property line in the case first responders need to get through part of their property without obstruction,” Shedd said. “When we brought that up, everybody was against it.”

Shedd said at the first meeting, the majority of comments were focused around not wanting the city to tell citizens what to do, but Shedd said the comprehensive zoning review isn’t about telling people what to do.

“Our zoning codes haven’t been updated since 1981 and it makes it very difficult in my department sometimes because people are constantly calling and complaining,” Shedd said. “All of our ordinances are to protect the health and safety of our residents. If we didn’t have ordinances, we would have sewage running down the street. It would be awful.”

Another topic that was and will be discussed at the upcoming townhall is food trucks and mobile businesses.

Shedd said right now, there are no restrictions on food trucks coming into the city, just a permit fee they have to pay.

“As popular as they are becoming, we felt we needed some type of ordinance in place to address them,” Shedd said. “My biggest concern is the out of town food trucks coming in and not paying local sales tax, but we have no control over that.

“What I presented to the public at the first meeting was to implement a higher permit for food trucks to pay to make up for the lost revenue in sales tax,” Shedd said. “Everybody was in agreement with that.”

The last topic that was discussed at the first meeting and that will be discussed again at the town hall Tuesday is parking storage containers, large RV and boats in residents’ driveways.

The city currently has an ordinance restricting the parking of these items on city streets, but nothing regarding parking them in driveways.

“A lot of neighbors, if a large RV is parked in the driveway next door, when they’re backing out, they can’t see what’s coming down the street,” Shedd said. “We get a lot of complaints about that in my department and we felt we needed to address that issue.”

There were between 60 to 75 people who attended the first town hall, but the city wants more feedback from individuals, along with different perspectives from citizens on updating the zoning code.

To accommodate more people, the city has moved the town hall from city hall to the civic center and is asking residents to share information about the town hall with friends, family and neighbors.

“We would really like a good crowd with representation from all areas of the city,” Shedd said.
In the past year, the city has convened a comprehensive zoning review task force, made up of local citizens, planning and zoning commission members, along with city staff.

“The task force recognized that the current zoning codes have been in place since 1981 and it’s time to review and possibly revise some of those codes,” Shedd said. “These town hall meetings create an opportunity for the public to be involved in that conversation.”

There will be a microphone set up for individuals to speak. Comments will be limited to three minutes for time constraints and individuals will be required to go up to the microphone to speak.

For more information, contact Joe Shedd by calling (806) 568-5442.

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