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Heritage Meadows residents voice concerns to P&Z

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The Navasota Planning and Zoning Commission (P&Z) held a Regular meeting Thursday, Nov. 14, and received comments from 10 residents about rezoning five properties on Navasota’s west side in the Airport Growth District. During the public hearing, comments focused on P&Z’s recommendation to rezone three properties abutting the north side of the Heritage Meadows subdivision from A/O, Agriculture Open Space district to R-3, High Density, Multi-dwelling residential units.

In response to questions about motivation for rezoning, Community Development Director Lupe Diosdado explained that the purpose of rezoning was to get “ahead of the curve” for future development and to streamline the development process by having already rezoned the property. Diosdado also clarified that rezoning has been in progress for more than a year and has already occurred on the east side of Navasota.

All but two residents who made public comments live in the Heritage Meadows subdivision and those eight spoke against apartment complexes being built next to the subdivision, particularly three and four-story complexes with a view into their backyards.

Virginia Godwin said, “We do have concerns with apartments being built behind our home. I think to protect the integrity of the neighborhood that we have in Heritage, matching the zoning that we have in Heritage would be a better fit for that property so that we can protect our homes and the security of our homes.”

Danny Sauls told P&Z that he paid off his 30-year mortgage in 18 years and that he left the crime and lack of concern for property values often found in apartment living for a “better life” in Heritage Meadows.

While the R-3 zoning allows for single family dwellings, it does give developers latitude to build apartment complexes, and Andrew Godwin asked the commission, “Why even allow the opportunity?”

Audrey Sauls who introduced herself as a community leader, agreed Navasota needs affordable homes but said that “zoning and planning is a form of discrimination in the City of Navasota.”

She continued, “I want to build a facility for homeless people in Navasota,” and asked that P&Z “cease” rezoning activities.

After the conclusion of the public hearing and discussion, commissioners approved a motion to rezone 54 acres west of Heritage Meadows to R-1A, High Density, Single-dwelling residential units and rezone 22.809 acres between S. Business 6 and Interstate Drive to M-2, Heavy Industrial.

Commissioners approved rezoning the three properties north of Heritage Meadows to R-2, Medium Density, Multi-dwelling residential units.

R-2 differs from R-3 in that each dwelling can contain no more than four units, be no more than 35 feet high with a maximum of 16 units per acre and allows for the development of single- family homes, duplexes or fourplexes. In contrast, R-3 allows building height of 45 feet, five or more units per dwelling with up to 28 dwellings per acre.

Another public hearing and possible action on the properties will take place at the Nov. 25 city council meeting.

Before adjourning, commissioners approved the Minutes of the Oct. 24 meeting.

Commissioners present were Dia Copeland, James Harris, Carolyn Katkoski, chairman Randy Peters, Patty Tokoly, Dr. John Walla and Todd Wisner.

Community Development Director Lupe Diosdado represented the City of Navasota and Bernie Gessner was present as city council liaison.

P&Z meets the second and fourth Thursday at 6 p.m. in city council chambers at 200 E. McAlpine Street. The schedule for city council, board and commission meetings is available at www.navasotatx.gov/events.