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Property rezoning upsetting some residents in Bellaire

A rezoned piece of property causing concern for some living in Bellaire. They say they like being a residential community and they want to stay that way
Tuesday, July 15, 2014
A proposal to rezone a piece of property is causing controversy in Bellaire. Unlike, Houston, Bellaire has strict zoning laws.

At issue is the property at 4301 Bellaire Boulevard. It is just over an acre of land and located next to the railroad tracks as you enter Bellaire from the east. Once across those tracks, you're welcomed by rather large homes. Residents say they are part of the city''s charm and charter.

"This is a city of homes," Joy Puzon told Eyewitness News and she and others want to keep it that way.

Mark Anderson has owned his home on Bellaire Boulevard for six years.

"I don't think commercial is the answer," Anderson said.

Up until it disbanded in 2012, the land was home to Westside Christian Church. Now, Sloan Properties wants to buy it and Frankel Development Group wants to develop it. The proposal is for two-story commercial building with restaurant and retail on the first floor and office space on the second floor.

For that to happen, Bellaire City Council would have to rezone the land from residential to commercial.

"How would you like it if some commercial place popped up behind your home," questioned Puzon, a Bellaire resident for 10 years.

Puzon is leading the charge against the proposal. Her home is right next to the property. She and other are concerned about traffic, declining property values and just what and who might occupy the space.

"Two-story windows all looking down into my little girls' bedrooms, bathrooms, our backyard where they all play...it's just an invasion of privacy," she said.

Frankel declined our request for an interview. In the company's proposal to the city to rezone, it call the land "undevelopable" otherwise, citing the railroad tracks, power lines and the property's narrow width. They say a landscaping buffer would preserve privacy. They have a traffic flow plans, but many worry this one change could lead to others.

"Should I and my neighbors ask for an exception and convert our residential properties into commercial? I'm sure everyone in Bellaire who enters Bellaire would have something to say about that," added Anderson.

There are still several more hurdles and hearings on the issue. The city administration has yet to make a recommendation.

Written comments to Bellaire's Planning and Zoning Commission are due August 6 by 4pm. The commission will vote on it on August 12 and it will be up for a City Council vote likely sometime in September.
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