Too many variances? Council denies rezoning


September 23, 2018

A request for a variance in Alva zoning passed the first hurdle with approval from the Board of Adjustments but ran into trouble on the second. Monday, Sept. 17, Henry Moore’s variance request was considered by the Alva City Council.

Councilmember Mary Hamilton, who is also a member of the Planning Commission, said they had some questions but after a lot of discussion, the commission voted to approve the variance. She said before Moore bought the property, he talked with the city inspector who told him a variance would need to be approved but it had not been a problem in the past.

Moore purchased two adjacent lots in the 600 block of Park Street with the intention of building a 30-foot by 50-foot storage building. The lots are currently zoned as medium density residential (RG8). To accommodate the large building, the lots would need to be rezoned as general commercial (CG).

Mayor Kelly Parker opened the discussion saying he has concerns about taking two lots in the middle of a residential area and changing them to commercial. Although the current owner wants the building for storage, Parker said a future owner could use the building in a wide range of other ways. He said he felt “conflicted.”

Several people attended the meeting to protest the variance including Floyd Herren, Tommy Lewis and Arlene Hada who reside in the area.

Herren said he already has a large storage building to one side of his property. If this one is built, he will be hemmed in.

Councilmember Brandon Sherman said a lot of variances have been given in the past that shouldn’t have been approved.

Several council members discussed the need to review city zoning ordinances and update them before granting more variances.

Mayor Parker said the way the current ordinance is written, he didn’t think he would recommend the variance. The current zoning ordinances were established in the 1970s. Parker said the city needs to develop the ordinances “with a mind for the future.’

Sherman made a motion to deny the variance with Daniel Winters seconding. The motion passed 6-2 with Hamilton and Randy Stelling dissenting.

Other Council Business

In addition to the above and a dilapidated property hearing (in a separate story), the council authorized City Business Manager Joe Don Dunham to sign a grant agreement for federal funds in the amount of $107,820 for the Alva Regional Airport. The funds will pay for design costs enlarging the apron to provide more parking tie-downs for aircraft and some taxiway changes.

The council approved the mayor’s appointment of Jaci Heaton to the Alva Recreation Complex Board for a three year term ending in 2021.

They also approved claims of $83,910.41 and payroll expenses of $212,744.64.

Authority Meetings

Among the $522,602.21 in claims approved by the Alva Utility Authority (AUA) was $392,112 including engineering fees, inspection services and construction for the water storage tank construction project. Trustees also approved $53,012.32 in payroll expenses.

The AUA also discussed writing off bad debt in the amount of $19,436.66. Dunham said this was mainly a bookkeeping exercise. The amount included unpaid utility bills from 2016 and 2017. Dunham said the debts will remain active with the collection agency, and the city will check them against new applications for utility services.

The Alva Economic Development Authority approved claims of $27,540.08 and payroll expenses of $9,492.96.


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