Harker Heights Councilman John Reider is sworn in by City Attorney Burk Roberts on Tuesday.

HARKER HEIGHTS — After a spirited discussion Tuesday, the City Council denied a request to rezone a parcel of land on Cedar Knob Road from single-family residential to secondary business district.

John C. Robinson spoke at the public hearing on rezoning the piece of land on Cedar Knob Road south of Fire Station No. 2, directly across from his home.

Robinson, 70, said he felt the rezoning process was racially insensitive because all three residences affected are owned by African-Americans.

City staff sent out 16 notices to property owners within the 400-foot notification area. Because the two responses that were filed in opposition — one from

Robinson and the other from Jimmy and Janet Lewis — comprised more than 20 percent of the area within the 200-foot buffer ring, a three-fourths approval vote from the council is required for the request to pass, regardless of the Planing and Zoning Commission’s recommendation, according to the city’s code of ordinances.

Newly elected Councilman John Reider recused himself from the rezoning vote because of “professional conflicts of interest.” Councilman Sam Murphey abstained from voting because he wasn’t “satisfied with the discussion,” so the request to rezone the property was denied.

Earlier, the council canvassed the votes from the May 10 municipal election. It was determined that Mayor Rob Robinson and Reider won their races, and they were sworn in.

Robinson garnered 630 votes to 164 votes for Oscar Dominguez, who withdrew in March. “This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and I am very fortunate to do this,” Robinson said about being elected after serving for seven years as a councilman.

Reider, who served 12 years previously on the council, got 488 votes, while David Brown got 299 votes. “I thank you, and I am very overwhelmed by my friends and the citizens of Harker Heights for allowing me another opportunity to serve,” Reider said.

Contact Vanessa Lynch at vlynch@kdhnews.com or 254-501-7567.

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