• August 30, 2014

Heights approves conditional-use permit

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Posted: Tuesday, June 10, 2014 11:03 pm

HARKER HEIGHTS — City Council members on Tuesday approved a conditional-use permit for a professional business to operate in a home in a residential community.

Fred Morris, director of Planning and Development, said city staff sent out 33 notices to property owners and received four back in opposition. He said a conditional-use permit establishes a specific condition under which a property owner can operate and is not a zoning change.

The home, which is in the 100 block of East Farm-to-Market 2410, is zoned as a single-family dwelling in Forest Hills and was given the go-ahead by council members to be converted into a mortgage company.

However, taking note of the surroundings, city staff allowed for the change only if nine criteria are met. Some of the conditions dictate that a fence must be built to enclose the property; the owners cannot increase the building in square footage or in height; the architectural style must remain residential in character; no parking is allowed in the rear of the property; any trees removed must be replaced by trees of similar type; and all lighting must be of bollard style and not exceed 3 feet in height.

Neighbors Doris Bearden, Jasper Hunter, David McClure and Judy Michelson submitted concerns about parking and an increase in traffic to the already busy corridor. McClure also questioned why the business owner would want his business in a residential area versus in the abundant commercial spaces the city has to offer. Despite having seen other available commercial spaces in Heights, Bradley Dragoo, the property owner, said he sought out this type of property for his business after a colleague found success in a similar setting in Belton.

“About 90 percent of the work we do is on the phone, by email and fax,” Dragoo said, adding that the company will employ up to five employees.

“We don’t do closings in our office and we will not have a high volume of traffic coming in or out ... probably more like one to two clients a day.”

Like a traditional business, Dragoo said his operation will run from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday with an occasional Saturday.

“This will be quieter than the average neighbor,” said Mayor Pro Tem Hal Schiffmann.

No one spoke for or against the issue during the public hearing.

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