After much discussion, the Midlothian City Council tabled a decision to grant a specific use permit to allow a kennel and boarding facility in a residential area at its Tuesday night meeting.
Midlothian Planning Director Trent Robertson presented the request to the council. He informed the board that this facility has been operating without a specific use permit for about a year. It was only discovered after code enforcement officers followed up on a complaint.
“They were running a kennel at a previous location and moved to a residence that was already annexed into the city. They thought that they would be allowed to continue the use,” Robertson said. “The city received a complaint on July 31 from the SPCA for animal cruelty. Code enforcement went out and found that it was unfounded.”
Robertson added that he has looked at the facility and does not have any concerns about its cleanliness.
Owner of Pop's Boarding, Cynthia Webb, addressed the council stating that she was not aware that she had to have a specific use permit. She noted that there are several other boarding facilities in the city but those facilities don’t have the amenities that Pop’s offers its clients. One such amenity is an exercise space for the dogs they are boarding. Webb shared that cleanliness is a priority at her facility.
Midlothian City Manager Chris Dick told the council that the city had received three letters of opposition from neighbors. In the letters, Dick stated the neighbors' concerns included a decline in property value, noise, traffic, smells, and operating a business in a residential area.
The council asked Webb what the building adjoining her home was used before it was used as a kennel. Webb told the board that it was originally constructed as a game room.
“I don’t think that anyone is trying to close down a business. It just looks like someone constructed a business in a residential facility,” Mayor Pro Tem T.J. Henley said. “I am looking at the rights of the other property owners. While it is fine today, you have got to look at tomorrow.”
Mayor Bill Houston shared Henley’s concern for the rights of fellow residents.
“My biggest concern being a realtor is the property value and the effect it would have if a neighbor might go to sell,” Houston said.
Henley told the council he would like to look at this request closer. He then made the motion to table the item to the Oct. 24 city council meeting. Place 2 Council Member Mike Rodgers seconded the motion, which was later approved by the council.
The council then heard a request to rezone 812.4 acres for a subdivision to be located north of Intersection of U.S. Highway 287 and Kimble Road.
Casey Ratliff, with Ash Grove Cement, addressed the council with his company’s concerns about the proposed development. The development borders an area where Ash Grove would be working.
“I think the council is familiar with our objections with this 500 lots coming in. The applicant asked us what would have us withdraw our objection — a plat notice to all residents,” Ratliff said. “We could not agree to where all those notices would apply. A resident even one-mile away might not understand what they are getting into. It has created issues at our other facilities around the country.”
Ratliff stated that after meeting with the developer, they were offered a notification area of 200 feet from their property. Ash Grove wanted the notifications to apply to the entire development.
Ken Davis, who is the engineer for the development, stated that this type of notification would place an undue burden on the development.
“We don’t have an issue with providing a plat notice within a certain distance or a notice in closing documents,” Davis remarked. “The real issue to us is that this would affect hundreds of residential properties. We want to know how much is enough.”
Rodgers told Davis that the city’s population is changing where before people knew and accepted industrial operations as the norm. Now people are moving into the city for the country atmosphere and not expecting this type of activity to be happening.
“If I had my way everything would be notified. At least we are doing in my opinion that we are doing things to notify everyone,” Rodgers said. “What is really wrong with notifying everyone? I don’t see it as a burden.”
Davis stated if they have to apply this type of notification to the entire development they would.
The council approved the rezoning request for development with the notification requirement of Ash Grove’s operations.
In other business the council,
• Approved a request for a specific use permit for a carwash that would be constructed at 2211 Plainview Road.
• Approved an amendment to an interlocal agreement between the Midlothian Independent School District and the city for school resource officers for the 2017-2018 school year.
• Approved a resolution for the Midlothian Economic Development Authority’s Investment Policies.
• Approved a resolution authorizing the city’s tree lighting ceremony event that is scheduled for Nov. 14.
• Approved an ordinance amending the city’s zoning ordinance section of general standard and species, and tree credits relating to the increase of the minimum caliper size of trees.
• Approved amending the city’s zoning ordinances for non-residential signage requirements relating to electronic message centers and the addition of governmental sign community regulations.
• Approved an agreement for professional services with Kimley-Horn and Associates, Inc. for engineering and design related services associated with the widening of a segment of Farm-to-Market Road 663 and the construction of auxiliary lanes not to exceed $112,700.
• Approved a three-year enterprise license agreement with SHI to cover all Microsoft licenses in use by the city for a total of $176,144.25.
• Approved a resolution to nominate candidates to the 2018-2019 board of directors for the Ellis County Appraisal District.