Alva Planning Commission fails to act on rezoning request
July 4, 2021
A rezoning request failed for lack of a motion in the Alva Planning Commission meeting Monday, June 28. Attending were Chairman Christie Kornele and members Charles Murrow, Tyler Crawford and Mark Nichols.
Mary Hamilton resigned from the Alva City Council on June 21, and there was some confusion about whether or not that meant she was no longer on the planning commission. City Business Manager Angelica Brady said Hamilton is not representing the city council on the commission so she can continue. Mayor Kelly Parker notified her by cellphone text, and she arrived a little later to join the meeting.
Cookson Rezoning Request
The rezoning request considered Monday was from Truman Cookson who wanted to tear down a house and garage at 4 Choctaw St. and build a 30 x 40 foot metal building for a potential commercial shop. The location is at the west end of Choctaw St. at the intersection with Noble St. The zoning change requested was from residential (RG8) to commercial neighborhood (CN).
Cindy Shafer, who lives right next door to the property, introduced herself and expressed her worries about the change. “My concern is if it goes commercial is that going to decrease all the rest of our neighborhood’s property value?” she asked. “If you all do go and approve it, which it’s a dump now, we all understand it needs to be cleaned up. But if it goes commercial how do we know that it’s going to be like an auto shop or what?
“We have people that work at night and sleep during the day. We have a daycare right across the alley that has kids there. We don’t want to hear roaring vehicles all day long. We don’t want to have a ton of vehicles sitting around the property. Look at all the machine shops around town, which they’re waiting in line to get fixed. We don’t want that for our neighborhood.”
Speaking next was Devin Jackson who lives at 3 Santa Fe on the other side of the alley from 4 Choctaw. “I work out at the prison. My concern is the noise pollution that’s going to be caused by this place,” said Jackson. “If it’s like you say, a machine shop, are they going to be out there grinding stuff all day? It would be like (Shafer) said. The daycare next door, they go naptime, they’ll be waking them up. That’s pretty much all my concerns.”
Crawford asked if residents have much noise from the county property located on the east side of Noble St. Shafer said the noise is from “when they come out on the street with their big trucks, but they don’t work on stuff.”
Another woman who did not identify herself said she’d like to see the property cleaned up. “It’s got wild animals living in it. The lot’s overrun with trees and grass. There’s no maintenance done on it. It’s just an eyesore.”
Hamilton asked if the zoning were switched to commercial, would the city have any control over what kind of business would be located there.
Miller said that a commercial neighborhood designation would allow the property owner to build a house there later. It could become residential without going back to the planning commission.
Parker asked what kind of business could be located there, and Miller said, “It can be anything.” He said having a daycare nearby would eliminate something like a marijuana dispensary. He also pointed out that the county shed and other businesses on the east side of Noble St. in that area are outside the city limits.
Kornele, who is on the strategic planning committee, said with rezoning, “we would be basically going backwards in what we are trying to do with the strategic plan.”
Brady added, “If I remember correctly, the plan was to do away with commercial neighborhood.”
Kornele said the plan was to stop allowing pockets of commercial zoning in residential neighborhoods.
With no more discussion, Kornele called for a motion. Met by total silence, Kornele declared the rezoning request dead for lack of a motion.
Alva Fire Chief Bryan Miller continues to act as city inspector until someone is hired. He said he spends about 80 percent of his workday as city inspector.
Miller said Alva has quite a few residential projects going on as well as some commercial property builds. He had a phone inquiry about locating a marijuana grow facility inside the city limits in part of a motel.
Miller said he’s been putting yellow signs in yards. “I think I’ve done about 20 yard violations.” he said. “Right now I’m basically putting those signs on people’s property that have filed written complaints. I’d rather have a written complaint on the property of the neighbors around just because I don’t have time to go driving Alva all day long.
“Several came in today (Monday) that I need to look at. What we’ve been doing is I go out and photograph them, place the stake, start the files on them, start the process. Generally we get phone calls from those property owners pretty quick.”
Miller said he’s also been getting more complaints about salvage yards. He’s looking into those.
Crawford asked what the yellow yard signs say.
“There’s a generic notice of the city ordinance giving them 30 days to mitigate their issues. If not then they’ll be fined $750,” said Miller. “If they don’t mitigate those issues after that, then we’ll start the process of sending them a letter and having that property cleaned up and liens put on the property.”
With inmate work crews no longer available from Bill Johnson Correctional Center, Kornele asked who is handling the cleanup.
Miller said the city’s public works department will have to do the cleanup. “They will just have to fit it within their mowing schedules. They do have a large right-of-way project that they’re mowing, city property mowing,” he said. “We have to keep up our own property also. We’ll just have to add that in there with them until we can get our inmates back.”
Brady said the city has five applicants for the city inspector position. She and Miller will be processing those. Miller said hopefully they’ll find “someone who will do a good job.” He said he’ll supervise the new hire until that person is certified.
Alva Arena Questionnaire
Planning Commission members were asked to fill out a questionnaire regarding the planned Alva Arena. The site is located at the southwest corner of East Flynn and County Road 460 in Alva. The questionnaire is part of the process involved in obtaining financing for the arena through the USDA.
Brady asked commission members to discuss and decide on the answers. She will fill out the form and submit it.
Everyone agreed easily on the answers to seven of the eight questions. However, No. 5 gave them some problems. It asks: Will the proposal influence area growth or delivery of services, including any disproportionate effects on minority groups?
As a teacher, Hamilton objected to the wording which she felt was contradictory. She said it should be two separate questions. Others agreed.
Eventually they chose to answer yes but added in the comments section that there would not be any disproportionate effects on minority groups.