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Zoning board reviews requests, weighs options

Zoning board  reviews requests, weighs options
Janette Chall of St. Ann Catholic Church

LA VERNIA The face of this city continues to change as the community grows. More changes are under way, after the La Vernia City Council addressed variance requests Aug. 8 from Koepp Chevrolet and St. Ann Catholic Church during a zoning board of adjustments meeting, followed by a regular council meeting.

Koepp Chevrolet, in its efforts to accommodate growth, has purchased some adjacent properties and removed a building, to make way for a dealership parking area. The plans will entail replatting and rezoning, meaning landscape requirements would come into play that are not required at present. Dwight Koepp addressed the board comprising Mayor Robert Gregory and city council members to request a variance to landscaping regulations. La Vernia Code Enforcement Officer Janet Thelen said the city staff supports the plans and Koepp would present the Planning and Zoning Commission with plans for review at each stage.

The board approved this variance request. However, the request from St. Ann’s did not fare as well.

The parish has grown, Janette Chall told the board, and more space was needed to accommodate parish programs, including religious education. This is why the church recently moved two portable buildings onto the property.

Chall, on behalf of the church, requested variances to the city’s requirement for a 10-foot setback from a main structure, a waiver of the masonry requirements, and a variance to the number of parking spaces, as one of the buildings has been sited on a parking lot near one of the church buildings. One building will be used as restrooms for existing classrooms and to serve the CYO sports teams that play on the church grounds. St. Ann’s, she said, is working on a capital campaign to build a new parish center with classrooms and other accommodation, but the money is not available for the immediate needs.

The parking-space variance was granted; however, despite much discussion, the other requests failed for lack of a motion.

“There are so many violations of city ordinances [in this request] I can’t count them all,” Councilman Randy Leonard said. “We can’t grant a variance for financial reasons.”

The church will need to ensure the buildings meet the 10-foot setback requirements; masonry must be added to bring the buildings into compliance with that city code, also.

Ordinances addressing the Koepp Chevrolet properties for rezoning were on the agenda for the council meeting following the zoning board of adjustments meeting, but no public hearings were on the agenda to address them. These will appear for council approval during a future council meeting, City Secretary/Treasurer Angela Cantu told the council.

During the meeting, the council also:

¢Approved renewal of a contract with Charlie Trowbridge for customer service inspections.

¢Approved the appointment of Gordon Bake to the La Vernia Municipal Development District board.

A budget workshop was scheduled for Aug. 14.

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