City Council approves zoning changes in regular meeting

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Lewisville granted some zoning change requests and authorized city manager Donna Barron on to execute a couple of deals in a quiet, quick City Council meeting on President’s Day,

The most interesting moments of the evening were during public hearings, when local residents Grace Kirby and Jason Pokatello stepped up to the podium to request the city stop clearing out trees in the Valley Ridge Greenbelt park. The trees were being culled as part of creek clearing efforts related to the Lewisville 2025 vision plan. Kirby and Pokatello said the contractors had gone too far and taken down too much greenery, and Barron said the city had already agreed — all work has been stalled until a public meeting can be held with the concerned neighborhood.

Community relations and tourism director James Kunke said before the meeting the idea was to make creeks more accessible, but also to lower the likelihood of flooding due to a debris getting caught in nearby trees and damming the creek and manage wildlife that may be taking up residence there.

“In this particular case, when we heard from residents, we went out there and saw that the contractor doing the work had done pretty much what was required, but we thought they had taken two or three trees out that we had not indicated should go,” Kunke said. He said the contractor is mulching what has already been cut down, but further work is on hold until the city and the neighborhood get on the same page.

In planned city business, the council granted applications to change zoning for two properties. One, a 17 acre tract on the northeast corner of South Valley Parkway and Spinks Road, was changed from an agriculture to an industrial district so that a new airport transfer center can be built there.

The other was for the Cowan Sleep Center on 477 Main St., which city background material indicates has been used as a senior boarding house for the past three years. It was zoned as mixed use, but needed to be zoned as a medical district property in order to be converted into an assisted living center. The center has 14 current residents, according to the background material.

In the consent agenda, Barron was authorized to set prices for two Glock 17s that retired Lewisville Police Department officers want to buy back from the city. Texas state law requires that cities have an avenue to sell service weapons back to honorably retired peace officers at market value.

Finally, the city agreed to waive rental and day-pass fees to the Herring Recreation Center for Chin Community Ministry. Lewisville has one of the largest populations of Chin refugees in the country — its estimated 4,000 residents puts it ahead of most states. The goal of the program is to divert Chin teenagers from gangs and drugs after school.

In a 6 p.m. workshop session before the meeting, parks and recreation director Stacie Anaya and Lenny Hughes, director of landscape architecture with Richardson-based Halff Associates, gave an update on the park master plan. On the idea that every American should be within a 10 minute walk, or half a mile, of a park or green space, They identified current gaps in southwest Lewisville and the Castle Hills area that need more green space. The presentation included several preliminary recommendations for areas that could become parks.

Lewisville City Council meets at 7 p.m. the first and third Mondays of the month at City Hall, 151 W. Church St. in Lewisville, often with a workshop meeting beforehand at 6 p.m. Residents can find meeting agendas, which are posted 72 hours beforehand by law, at the city’s website.

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