Rezoning of Elliott and Wheeler called off due to opposition

The project that calls for townhouses to be developed on a rezoned Elliott and Wheeler Street has been called off after almost two months of meetings and opposition.

Cancelled plans

Virgil Moore, executive director of the Breckenridge Economic Development Corporation, said developer David Stowe spoke with him on Tuesday, Dec. 11, and said he no longer wished to pursue the development project.

Stowe concurred saying the opposition was the primary motive for changing his mind.

“The neighbors were up against it so we kind of felt like it wasn’t a good plan,” Stowe said. “We weren’t trying to hurt anyone’s feelings or anything like that. We just were at a point where we thought it would be a good fit for the neighborhood.”

Stowe said since the local residents showed strong disinterest, he said he didn’t feel the need to push it.

In regards to future plans, Stowe has some projects in the works, albeit in the early stages. A lot of these plans, though, are in the early stages and nothing is concrete. But he did assure there will be no need to rezone anything. He also did say he would for sure work with the city of Breckenridge again on other projects.

“We want everybody to be happy,” Stowe said. “We’re trying to get quality housing because it’s what we really need.”

The rezoning of Wheeler and Elliott

The rezoning has been a running saga for nearly two months now. On Dec. 13 the city had scheduled what would have been the third planning and zoning meeting regarding this issue. The first one, held in October, had a public hearing scheduled, a vote to rezone Wheeler and Elliott, as well as an item that would insert an official definition regarding townhouses into the city code.

The second meeting, in November, had another public hearing and held a vote, which was in favor of the rezoning 3-2. This would have meant the P&Z board send a recommendation to the city commissioners. But the vote was ultimately disqualified, because Mike Hinyard, a P&Z board member, had since moved out of the city limits and changed his voting address, making his vote invalid. This would not have normally mattered, as they could just disqualify his vote and send it to the city with a 2-2 tie, meaning no recommendation. But Hinyard made the motion for the board to vote, making the entire process invalid rather than his one vote. This led to his resignation and the city appointing a new board member in his place.

The third meeting, which would not have had a public hearing and just feature the vote, would have been the last step before it was voted on by the city in January.

Housing and townhouses

Housing has been an issue in Breckenridge, and even those who opposed the rezoning acknowledged that during the public hearings. The opposition came due to the area they had decided to build the townhouses. Specifically, the local residents did not want the project to take away a playing field in the area. Concerns about traffic increasing in the area were also an issue, as many said the roads were not in good enough condition to support such a living space. Many also said they would support the building of houses but not townhouses.

There was to be around 20 townhouses, with a mix of two and three bedroom dwellings targeted at single families and elders. The plan was for the houses to not be subsidized by the government.

“I was somewhat surprised by the opposition,” Moore said. “And disappointed that we’re not going to be able to move forward on this because we so desperately need the housing and we need that type of housing.”

Moore said the next step is to continue moving forward and find ways and places to build more homes to alleviate the housing shortage in Breckenridge. For more information, contact the city or the BEDC.

The Breckenridge American

BRECKENRIDGE OFFICE

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PO Box 871

Breckenridge, Texas 76424

Phone: (254) 559-5412
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