Concerns raised over shop plan

Posted 5/23/24

Memorial Day plans, a retirement announcement, zoning issues and the administration of oaths of office to the newly elected city aldermen produced some strong sentiments for those attending …

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Concerns raised over shop plan


Memorial Day plans, a retirement announcement, zoning issues and the administration of oaths of office to the newly elected city aldermen produced some strong sentiments for those attending Quitman’s City Council meeting on Thursday, May 16. 

Mayor Randy Dunn announced the upcoming retirement of Sheryl Laudenslager, assistant city secretary/finance director. Dunn noted all the work that Laudenslager has done for the city, specifically with the Carroll Green Civic Center. Dunn also said, “if you’ve got a question about a part of our operation, and don’t have an answer in front of you, Sheryl can give you some pieces that can probably answer the whole thing.” Dunn thanked Laudenslager, “We appreciate her very much. I publicly want to thank you for all that you’ve done.” 

City Administrator James Attaway discussed the city taking over the Memorial Day celebration on the square. Attaway said that the Memorial Day ceremony originally started in 2000 by a group of veterans. Last year, at the completion of ceremonies, the volunteer organizers asked if the city could help with the ceremony in the future. The city agreed and Attaway took on the organization of the ceremony. It is scheduled Monday, May 28 at 11:30 a.m. at the courthouse. 

After approving the consent agenda, a public hearing was held to discuss the possibility of granting a variance from the Quitman zoning ordinance that requires accessory buildings in residential neighborhoods to be no more than 440 square feet. The property in question is 806 Lance Road in the Green Acres addition. The variance request was filed by current owner Joyce Goggins on behalf of potential buyer David Ritz who would like a variance so he can build a 1,500-square-foot metal workshop. 

The interested buyer spoke first and stated that his intent was to build a shop with electricity that would house his hobbies. He stated that he had no intention of running water to the building or using it as a business at any time. He stated that the building would be behind the house close to the back of the property. 

Neighbors signed up to speak and voice concerns about the addition of the metal building. Their concerns varied. One neighbor, Roberta and  John Ellis, voiced concerns about two structures already on the property in addition to the home. Ellis would like to see a rendering of the building since it is so large for a residential area. Ellis also asked about what type of driveway would be built to the building, about the plumbing and if it were going to be used for a business such as an AirBNB.

Ellis was also concerned about the potential of a business operated out of the building and worried about what the building might do to the value of her property. Ellis also mentioned that there was confusion about the original notice of the city council meeting. The original notice listed the Quitman City Library as the place for the council meeting, but it was held at city hall. Ellis stated that she would like any decisions to be tabled because she was concerned that other neighbors would have been there to voice their concerns about the building but went to the wrong location.

Neighbor Andy Hedlund echoed similar concerns as well as the possibility of the potential buyer’s hobby spilling out of the building and into his yard causing his home to look unsightly and not up to the neighborhood standards. Hedlund also mentioned parking issues at the house and said he would also like to see a rendering of the building. 

The potential buyer reassured everyone that he was not planning to run a business out of the building; however, concerns remained that if he ever sold the property, someone else may come along and try to turn the building into a business. 

The council unanimously voted to table the discussion until next month’s meeting June 28. They asked the potential buyer to have a rendering available. 

The council approved resolutions adopting the financial policies and procedures for local and federal grants as required for the application submission process. The council also approved a Drought Contingency Plan as required by the Texas Commission of Environmental Quality.

Before going to closed session, Dunn swore in re-elected Aldermen Todd Wright, Steven Glenn and Jack Robinson.