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George West OKs rezone for company
by Mike Alexieff
Aug 21, 2011 | 1363 views | 0 0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The George West City Council gave preliminary approval Monday to a request by Bottom Line Services Inc. to rezone four acres from residential to commercial.

Bottom Line, on U.S. 59, owns the tract, which is adjacent to its 11-acre site. The land is near Charles and Burleson streets.

The city sent 11 letters to area property owners for comments, and two were returned in oppostion, said Becky Allen of the city’s planning and zoning commission. In addtion, seven residents signed a petition opposing the rezoning, she said, including one who had also sent a letter. Earlier Monday, the commission approved the rezoning 3-1.

Residents Reggie Sullivan and Lorman Brown were at the council meeting and spoke against the move, saying that Bottom Line’s operations already create too much noise and dust.

Brown also cited flooding problems during heavy rains, and a loss of property value that would happen should the rezoning occur.

Bottom Line owners Terry and Lisa Jackson said they were taking steps to ease the problems, including watering the yard to keep dust down and plan to put a covering on the fence to shield the yard from view.

They gave the council members a packet that included their company’s impact on the community: a year-to-date payroll of $15.5 million; 604 employees; $11,000 in charitable contributions made by employees; and a list of 30 local events, charities and clubs it helps support.

The council approved the rezoning on first reading, but asked that city staff look into the flooding problem.

The council passed several ordinances related to the growth prompted by the Eagle Ford shale boom.

One would allow the city to regulate where large trucks could travel and park, another targets noise, in particular Jake brakes used by trucks, and a third lays the framework for identifying and removing dilapidated and unsafe buildings.

“This is going to be the tool we need to start enforcing substandard housing,” City Manager Sandra Martinez said. “The current tool doesn’t have enough teeth.”

Councilman Tom Iley abstained from voting on the ordinance, saying he wants to study the current ordinance.

Before the council meeting, a brief budget workshop was held.

Martinez outlined a proposed budget of about $3 million, significantly larger than recent ones thanks to an increase in revenue because of the shale boom.

She estimated general fund revenue of $1.6 million, $200,000 more than last year.

The downside to the boom is the difficulty in keeping employees and maintaining and creating the infrastructure to handle the growth.

“We have to provide more services, so we have to put our money back into training and equipment,” Martinez said.

To make the city an attractive place to work, Martinez said the staff was going to recommend merit raises for employees of between 5 percent and 7 percent, as well as enhanced retirement benefits.

“How can the city or county compete against oil companies paying $17 to $18 an hour? Benefits is one way,” she said.

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