High-end housing development moving forward

Subdivision granted variances

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A proposed high-end subdivision located just outside of Sealy that initially received a lot of skepticism from members of the Sealy City Council is now receiving their support.

Bullinger Creek, formerly known at Red Oak Estates, is a 113-acre development that will have 87 homes situated on lots ranging from one to 1.25 acres in size. When first presented to council last summer, members were unhappy that the developer wanted to use septic tanks rather than city sewer and there were concerns about the drainage plans. Having met with developers in workshops and subsequent meetings, the council is moving forward with the project and last Tuesday approved two variances to the development ordinances. The actions are necessary because the developers plan to annex Bullinger Creek, located on Sens Road south of Frazer, into the city.

The first variance allows the development to have paved street widths of 24 feet rather than 28. The roads will have two feet of soft shoulders leading to drainage ditches. The variance was approved because there will not be any curb, gutter or sidewalks. The second variance was to allow a trail system in lieu of sidewalks to connect the community.

A third item related to the project was to allow negotiations for the right to provide water service to the development. Currently, the right to provide water at the site is with the Austin County Water Supply Corporation. Since the developers plan to annex the subdivision and have asked for the city to provide water, the city will negotiate a Certificate of Convenience and Necessity (CCN) with the Austin County Water Supply Corporation.

Truck parking

Concerned about trash and the unsightly view of numerous semi-trucks parked in the parking lot of the strip shopping center on South Meyer Street, City Manager Lloyd Merrell proposed an ordinance to council that would prohibit the big rigs from parking in the lot.

“That’s not the kind of sight I want to see,” Merrell said.

Councilmember Larry Koy said he was concerned about the impact on the hotels and restaurants in the area if the truckers could no longer park there. Councilmember Chris Noack said he would like to find a space to designate for truck parking.

“If that’s considered private property, who’s going to fine them?” asked Councilmember Sandra Vrablec.

City Attorney Tim Kirwin answered her, saying it would be a code enforcement issue.

Councilmember Jennifer Sullivan wanted to know if there were any agreements between the property owners and the trucking companies and asked for the item to be tabled to determine that.

Councilmember Dee Anne Lerma pointed out that the Sealy EDC is attracting more and more industry to town all the time and noted the truckers coming in to support those businesses need places to park.

“Telling private property owners what they can and can’t do is troubling,” she said.

The council asked Merrell to find out if the property owners have any agreements with the trucking companies to allow them to park their rigs there and to bring the information back to them at the next meeting.

Parking lot dispute

In the city’s 3-year-old quest to get the Sealy ISD to pave the gravel parking lot at the football stadium, the council finally had a face-to-face meeting with district officials who promised another plan to finally get the lot paved. The council discussed having the city attorney issue a default notice to the school district since the lot has been in violation of an agreement to get it paved for more than a year. Bryan Hallmark, the new superintended of Sealy ISD, and project manager Mike Zapalac discussed the parking lot with the council. Zapalac explained that the funds for a new parking lot at Sealy Elementary School were part of a bond program and could not be used at the stadium. Hallmark assured the council that he needed time to meet with his board first but was confident he could provide the council a reasonable timeline for getting the lot paved.

After breaking into an executive session to meet with the city attorney, the council agreed to hold off on the letter until next month after Hallmark has his next board meeting.

In other action, the council:

  • Approved a $9,900 performance agreement between the Sealy EDC and the Brazilian Jiu-jitsu project to help the business open at the Sealy Outlet Mall site.
  • Approved up to $250,000 in a performance agreement between the Sealy EDC and Anchor Manufacturing project to help the steel manufacturing company construct a facility in Sealy.
  • Approved a building line variance for a structure at 224 North Atchison St.
  • Approved the final plat for the second section of Dove Landing.
  • Approved the first of two readings on a solid waste ordinance to provide for recycling. The service is already provided by Texas Disposal Systems, but it was not listed in the original ordinance.
  • Approved the first of two readings an ordinance regarding the supervision and control of parks.
  • Amended an ordinance that outlines the responsibilities of the director of public works and the director of parks, streets, drainage, and building services. The duties were not listed in original ordinances.
  • Authorized the city manager to seek requests for qualifications or proposals for a zoning plan, a comprehensive plan, a drainage plan, a utility plan and water and sewer master plans.
  • Considered lifting the declaration of disaster for public health emergency, but opted not to in order to continue to qualify for any COVID-19 relief funds.
  • Declared 44 unused culverts left over from a drainage project as surplus items to be sold.
  • Considered adoption of a fee for engineering services for annexations.
  • Approved an increase in the pay scale for the wastewater treatment plant superintendent position.
  • Heard updates from the city manager that includes returning to normal operations on utility accounts, more private funding for additional safety rails downtown, demolition of the Rooms 4 Rent motel targeted for the end of December, increased spraying for mosquitoes, an uptick in the number of housing developers approaching the city, and adjustments to the meeting schedule due to the Nov. 3 election. Instead of meeting on Nov. 3, the council will meet on Nov. 9 and canvas the election at that time.

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