Bellaire citizens will get a chance to contribute thoughts on proposed rules that will affect the city’s look and feel at an public hearing scheduled for Oct. 19.
The hearing about the city’s new comprehensive plan will be at 6 p.m. at city hall, 7008 South Rice Ave. The issue of the hearing is whether to replace the city’s current master plan with the new 97-page document, which the Bellaire Planning and Zoning Commission developed based on input from a citizen’s advisory committee and planners from the Kendig Keast Collaborative.
The document incorporates plans for a “transit-oriented development” of shops, condos or townhomes linking Bellaire’s northern boundary to Metro’s University rail line station near S. Rice and Westpark. It would redevelop Bellaire’s Research, Distribution and Development District, which has failed to attract much new business to the city.
The plan also provides for possible ways to bring Bellaire more high-density housing, and calls for revitalization of the city’s sagging downtown area.
After citizens comment on the proposed plan, it can return to the city council so members can propose amendments reflecting the feedback, said City Attorney Alan Petrov.
Councilman Will Hickman at the Sept. 21 council meeting requested a special session at that time to include the Planning and Zoning Commission, so council members can ask questions while working on the amendments.
While scheduling the time and day for the public hearing, the council spent about 20 minutes debating where the final comprehensive plan will be written down: Entirely within the existing code, or as a standalone document with a reference in the code.
“It is a large document this time, it has a lot of pictures, it has a lot of graphs,” said City Manager Bernie Satterwhite. “Those would be somewhat problematic to include within the code.”
Petrov said the comprehensive plan would have the same effect regardless of where it is recorded. Councilman Pat McLaughlan said he thinks it really doesn’t matter, because the main goal remains the same.
“Am I correct in understanding it’s six one way, and half a dozen the other way?” McLaughlin joked about the code-versus-standalone-document debate. “The purpose of this comprehensive plan is to set a vision, a plan, a goal, what have you, for future land use within the city.”