City council tables zoning request

Image: City of Italy Seal

City of Italy Seal (City of Italy)

The Italy City Council tabled the final approval of a proposed zoning request at 101 Dunlap Street at its monthly meeting Monday.

A public hearing produced no opposition to the proposal.

During discussion, John Droll, councilmember, questioned the way the city attorney had written the ordinance. Droll said his concerns were not about the zoning request, only about the way it was written.

Greg Richards, council member, made the motion to approve the ordinance anyway. The motion failed for the lack of a second.

Droll said he would not mind a called meeting in order to get this ordinance approved.

Council member Rodney Guthrie made the motion to table the item until the city attorney could explain the wording in question.

The planning and zoning commission recently approved the zoning request from P.J. Leible. Changes included:

  • Amend Retail District 1 by adding “apparel and other products assembled from finished textiles;”
  • Amend Section 18 of Commercial Highway to include Hwy. 77 with specific use permit; and
  • Permanently rezone 101 Dunlap Street from Single Family to Commercial Highway with specific use permit.

Leible said she has been trying to get the zoning changed since September of 2008.

In other business, Mayor Frank Jackson presented Clover Stiles and Tina Haight plaques for spearheading the recent Christmas festival and parade. He praised the pair for their community service and assistance with the school since moving to Italy.

The mayor said, “They worked so hard for the festival. I appreciate everything they have done.”

Preston Dixon, pastor of the Mt. Gilead Baptist Church, addressed the council questioning their vision for the city.

Dixon praised the mayor and council members for the job they had done over the years.

He did question, however, various concerns he has seen in the city.

He said the intersection of SH 77 and Harris Street, although recently improved, needed rails of some type. He said the deep ditch at that intersection was “an accident waiting to happen.”

The council responded that the widening of that intersection was a joint project with TxDOT and the city. Richards said he felt TxDOT could add guardrails to the intersection.

Dixon said there is undeveloped land in the city and said that although there are new businesses in the community, they needed more. He said the city needed to find a way to expand and draw business into the community.

He continued, "This town is beautiful but we have nothing for our children. “I have been preaching here over two years and have heard nothing about a recreation center or a park.” Dixon also suggested the city beautify the south side of the city.

The pastor, who lives in Grand Prairie, said he remembers when Grand Prairie was the size of Italy. “With the area we have, we can bring in wonderful things,” he said.

“Anything alive ought to be growing,” he pointed out. “If it’s not growing, something is wrong.”

He concluded, “The reality is that we’re not getting any younger. Our minds should be on the next generation.”

Larry Swanson requested the city repair Poplar Street, an item tabled from the December meeting. Brad Chambers, interim public works director, said he is getting estimates to repair Poplar Street, Park Street and White Street. He explained that the city could not proceed with street repairs until final payment is paid in order for the city to know how much money is available for street repair.

Swanson also questioned why the city is allowing vacated 521 Poplar Street to deteriorate. He said a well in the back yard is caving in and several windows have been knocked out. Police Chief C.V. Johns said the code enforcement officer has contacted the owner about taking care of the well.

Mayor Jackson said the council wants to get a Park Board Committee formed but said the city has only received three applications. He said five members are required for the board. The council took no action regarding the Park Board Committee.

The council did approve a resolution to make the final payment to P.E.T. Construction.

The board took no action regarding the city’s real estate appraisals by Cam Fearis. Market value for the former armory building and 1.477 acres on Houston Street is set at $36,000. The former community center is valued at $128,000 and city hall is valued at $136,000. The police department is set at $95,000 and the fire department is valued at $187,000.

The council also discussed the possibility of comparing the feasibility of keeping the garbage service as it is or accepting bids for sanitation service for the city.

Department reports Johns said the police department investigated four thefts, a family violence complaint and five criminal mischief acts. The animal control officer worked 22 hours during December. Regular officers worked 1,277 hours, and reserve officers worked 169 hours.

Bradley, water superintendent, said the department worked 12 sewer complaints, and 14 water leaks; there were 17 disconnects and nine reconnect fees during December.

He said the department has changed out 24 water meters and has brought the water loss ratio down considerably.

Suzanne Delephimne, court clerk, reported that the police department issued 394 citations during the month of December. There are 128 warrants filed/pending.

Council comments Richards thanked Rev. Dixon for his comments. “I see what he’s talking about,” Richards said. “Mrs. Stiles and Mrs. Haight have come into town and have gotten people excited. It shows that we can all do a little more for the city.”

Droll thanked the public works department for “getting the job done” with recent personnel changes.

The last day to file for upcoming city elections is March 9. Packets can be picked up at city hall. Droll, Souder, Guthrie and Jackson are up for re-lection.

A called meeting is set for Thursday, Jan. 22, at 6:30 p.m.