City Council nixes new car wash

Special-use permit denied amid strong opposition; bond election called

Bill Spinks
Midlothian Mirror
This vacant location in the Midlothian Towne Crossing development was denied unanimously for a car wash by the Midlothian City Council at its Feb. 8 meeting.

A proposed car wash at the northeast corner of FM 663 and Hawkins Run Road was unanimously rejected during last Monday night’s meeting of the Midlothian City Council.

Councilmembers voted 7-0 to deny a special-use permit for a car wash at that location after councilmembers and nearby residents objected to the noise that air dryers would make, as well as the added traffic in the area.

The car wash, which is in the Midlothian Towne Crossing shopping center that is anchored by a Kroger supermarket, drew 13 total responses in opposition, Mayor Richard Reno said, of which five spoke at the meeting. Most of the opposition was on the grounds of noise and increased traffic, but a couple of business owners spoke in objection to the increased competition.

Mayor Pro Tem Justin Coffman gave an anecdote of waiting in traffic in that area and said it took him four minutes to make a left turn. “We haven’t seen the entire traffic impact the Kroger development is going to have on our community,” Coffman said. “It’s going to be substantial.”

Councilmember Wayne Sibley said the site would be put to better use as a restaurant. City planning director Trenton Robertson said in 2015, the shopping center was originally zoned for that purpose.

The council also approved an SUP for a motor vehicle repair garage at 1301 East Main Street between Murray and Profitt streets, with the added stipulation that a sidewalk be constructed along Main Street. The property is presently fronted by a bar ditch, but Reno said the city’s long-term vision of pedestrian connectivity along Main Street should be kept in mind.

The property contains two existing buildings, which are the former locations of USA Collision and Fastenal. The SUP was approved by the city Planning & Zoning Commission at its January meeting, but the commission did not specify a sidewalk requirement.

All councilmembers were present.

Other items

• The council approved placing a series of bond issues on the May 1 election ballot. The bond contains four separate propositions: the construction of a public safety and police headquarters at a cost of $46 million; a new City Hall and public library for $25 million; a recreation center for $19 million; and city street and road improvements for $35.5 million. The motion passed 5-2, with councilmembers Ted Miller and Hud Hartson opposing. The council also unanimously approved an agreement with Mayes Media Group to provide public relations and public education communication services for the bond referendum for a total of $90,850 and also approved a budget amendment to pay for said services.

• Laura Terhune, president and CEO of the Midlothian Chamber of Commerce, addressed the council to promote the Chamber’s new magazine, which she said is its first in about a dozen years.

• In other Chamber matters, the council authorized the Spring Wine & Arts Festival for May 1. Terhune and Chamber special events coordinator Allie Benham said the festival will have numerous COVID-19 protocols in place. The council separately approved about $28,000 from the hotel/motel tax fund for advertising and other expenditures for the festival.

• The consent agenda was approved, consisting of approval of previous minutes, a mutual aid agreement with Ellis County, and interlocal cooperative purchasing agreements with eight other Texas cities.

• A property at 816 West Avenue H was rezoned from residential to an urban village planned development to allow for a single-family residence. The approval allows for exceptions for setbacks. The architecture of the home on that lot will match other houses in the neighborhood.

• A 122-bed skilled nursing facility on 9th Street across from Midlothian High School in the MidTowne development was approved 6-0, with councilmember Clarke Wickliffe recusing.

• The rezoning of a property at East Avenue F and North 11th Street, in the Founders Row area, from residential to an urban village planned development was approved. The property will serve as a service area for Founders Row and will have a historic house on site. Lighting in the area will be capped to match fixtures already in place while reducing light pollution, city planning manager Marcos Narvaez said. A right-of-way encroachment agreement was separately approved at the same location for on-street parking.

• The council approved a 90-day interest forbearance between the Midothian Community Development Corporation and Gatehouse Midlothian Ownership, LLC  (doing business as Courtyard by Marriott) for a mezzanine promissory loan agreement. The interest amount will be added to the principal amount to be repaid to the MCDC.

• The sale of a 10.656-acre tract in Midlothian Business Park at a purchase price of $250,000 was approved with the recommendation of Midlothian Economic Development.

• Following an executive session, the council agreed to execute an agreement with Stonegate Church to purchase a 1.325-acre tract of land for street right-of-way; a 0.0272-acre tract for a permanent utility and drainage easement; and a 0.3024-acre tract for a temporary construction easement for $73,618 in association with the South Walnut Grove Road project.