COPPERAS COVE — Area residents already are planning to use an amended zoning ordinance that would allow certain businesses in multi-family residential dwelling districts.
“I have two different folks that have come in for a pre-application process,” said Chris Stewart, Cove’s city planner.
Prior to the amendment’s approval, Stewart said several people contacted the city, wanting to locate businesses in high-density housing areas.
“I do think (the ordinance) is addressing a need for development and redevelopment,” he said Tuesday at a council meeting.
The amendment creates a process and criteria for the city to determine regulations for several types of businesses in multi-family districts by implementing a conditional-use permit.
According to the ordinance, the council can instill several limitations on businesses, such as doctor’s offices or restaurants, wanting to locate in those districts.
“The conditions that are set on the usages are designed to make the uses compatible with the surrounding area,” Stewart said.
The Copperas Cove City Council and the Planning and Zoning Commission, for instance, can require certain lighting, different fencing and other restrictions on a property seeking a conditional-use permit so impact on the surrounding area is limited.
Businesses couldn’t exist within a multi-family dwelling district by right, but now there is an option if they meet guidelines set by the council.
“Before, (the property owner) didn’t have a choice, and now if we see fit, we can let them in,” Mayor John Hull said.
Hull said the amended zoning regulation doesn’t mean the council will allow every possible type of business in an area.
“Each one of them has to be done on their merit,” Hull said, noting all conditional-use permit seekers go before the council and the zoning commission.
Public hearings also will be held, and notices will be given out to property owners just as if there was a zoning change occurring.
Unlike a zoning change, conditional-use permits allow the council to hear residents concerns and establish conditions on a business so its impact on the area addresses those concerns.
“It is the council’s decision to issue the permit,” Stewart said. “You are not guaranteed to put in a convenience store. ... You can only do it if you meet certain conditions.”
Hull said he didn’t know what conditions the council or the planning and zoning commission would create in the future or what businesses they might allow; however, he believed the tool would benefit the city and be used conservatively.
“It depends on all the circumstances, and I’m sure that they will consider it as wisely as they can,” Hull said.
“I don’t think they are going to rubber-stamp (any business).”