Salado aldermen turned down requests for variances for a crushed gravel parking lot at Center Circle, following a public hearing on the matter in which no one spoke in favor or against May 19. Shortly after, the board approved a list of variances for Phase I of a subdivision in the extra territorial jurisdiction and one aldermen even hinted that incentives could be offered to bring the property into the village limits through voluntary annexation.
City administrator Kim Foutz reported that the work on the parking lot had been completed before a building permit was filed with the city.
Larry Wolfe, who has been managing the property for the past year, told Salado Village Voice after the May 19 meeting that he did not realize that “we needed to file a separate building permit for putting down some gravel.”
The issue that seemed to rile aldermen David Williams and Fred Brown was that Wolfe did not follow the right processes. While Wolfe was present for the May 19 meeting, he did not speak before the board. Nor did the board ask for his input, although later in the evening on a subdivision request for several variances, aldermen asked the developer to address the board on those issues.
Village engineer John Simcik advised aldermen to deny the requests from The Shed on the grounds that it was incomplete. The two-page building permit filed on March 24 included an aerial photo of the property with the parking lot outlined. Apparently missing from the permit was a Development Plan and a hydrological study of the impact of the gravel parking lot on the floodplain during flood events.
While Simcik warned aldermen against approving variances, he also told them that the Flood Damage Prevention ordinance and Subdivision Ordinance are more stringent than many other communities particularly in the requirements concerning fill. The Flood Damage Prevention ordinance, for example, has a no fill requirement for anything in the floodplain. It requires that if any fill is added to an area that is in the floodplain that a similar amount be taken away on the same property so that there is a zero gain effect.
Most other communities, according to Simcik, allow for up to one foot of fill in the floodplain without requiring variances.
Quite a bit of work has been done at the corner of Royal and Center Circle, upgrading and expanding The Shed and The Venues buildings and grounds. Wolfe said that he was told by the Village before work began to file a singlebuilding permit and to amend it as necessary. He said that he was also told by the Code Enforcement officer Chrissy Lee that he would not need to file a building permit for the gravel parking lot.
“It wasn’t until later that they told me I did,” he said.
After turning down the variance requests for The Shed, aldermen approved a list of variances recommended for approval by the Planning and Zoning board for Phase 1 of the Salado Mill Subdivision. Phase 1 of the subdivision is 5.42 acres and nine residential lots that will front Stinnett Mill Rd. in the ETJ of the Village of Salado. Variances were given for sections of the subdivision ordinance dealing with street improvements, sidewalks, sight distances and driveway locations, wastewater facility design, approval of a concept plan before a final plane is approved and reserving an access road entrance of Stinnett Mill Rd. Variance requests concerning fire hydrants and drainage were withdrawn from consideration.
“When we decided not to annex into the city, that changed everything,” said developer/owner Bear Rosamond, who added that “we have only been met with contention from village staff.”
He added that the decision not to annex into Salado was a business one dealing with property taxes for the upscale homes he intended on building there.
Fred Brown asked if he “would be open to annexing if we gave you some concessions.”
“Absolutely,” the Rosmond replied.