Planning and Zoning holds contentious public hearing
The Breckenridge Planning and Zoning Commission held a public hearing last week regarding plans to rezone an area in the town that would allow the development of townhouses. The items were eventually tabled due to lack of clarification and will be moved to another day. The hearing at times was contentious, as over a dozen residents living in or near the area showed to protest and voice their concerns over the plan.
Currently, the area is scheduled as a R-1 location, but in order to develop townhouses the classification would need to be R-1-b. The meeting dealt with two items regarding this. The first item was specifically about defining what a townhouse is in the city ordinance. Fire Capt. Calvin Cheney said the city attorney found while the city code mentioned townhouses, they were not defined. There was a public hearing held specifically on this item, and one scheduled for the actual vote of reclassification.
After the second public hearing was opened, which was the main hearing, several arguments from the residents were made against the development. Some of these arguments dealt with the traffic in the surrounding area, which Roy Hughes said he had found 16 accidents had occurred in the area last year. He speculated developing the area with the townhouses may increase traffic and therefore cause more accidents. The other argument many made was that in order to develop the area, a playing field for children will have to be closed down. The last, from Nancy Hughes, was the development would ultimately raise their property taxes because of increasing value.
After most residents had a chance to speak, Virgil Moore, the Breckenridge Economic Development Corporation’s executive director and the main advocate for the townhouses, read a letter accompanied with a power point showing a virtual model of the houses, as well as giving information about it, such as its costs.
“This housing development has been desperately needed in Breckenridge for many years,” Moore said. “I regularly receive letters from businesses and individuals that emphasize the shortage of adequate, decent housing as their biggest ongoing concern.”
Moore went onto say the playing field is not a concern, as there are plenty of other playing fields to make up the loss. He also added this is all the idea of a developer who wanted these specific plans, and Moore said when someone shows interest in developing he is willing to do what he needs to do to make it happen.
Tommy Wimberley chimed in after Moore concluded, asking why are they building in this area when there is another area owned by the BEDC behind Walker and Dairy Streets that is not being used. He added the area has not been kept up with.
“They have 15 to 17 acres of land,” Wimberley said. “They don’t maintain it, they don’t keep it clean, they don’t keep it mowed. It’s a trash pile down there.”
Moore told Wimberley at that point in time, he was not at the meeting to answer questions from residents. His purpose was to assist the P&Z board with any questions they may have. Wimberley did not take kindly to this, asking how the head of a public office that is a tax entity does not have to answer questions.
The hearing broke down when Genoa Goad, a P&Z board member, began asking for specifics as to what the board was about to vote on. This began a nearly 20-minute break in the hearing where several people in attendance, and more specifically Cheney, were attempting to answer his questions regarding zoning and the project at stake.
The meeting halted when City Manager Andy McCuistion stepped in and suggested these items be tabled until there can be more clarification on the items. They did not reschedule at the meeting.
The cost will be between $2 million and $2.5 million to develop. There will be about 20 townhouses. These houses will not be federally subsidized and are target homes for families and elders, Moore said at the meeting.
The Breckenridge American will have more on this item soon and will update as is needed with new information. We will also have a longer piece explaining the details of the development plan in the near-future.