Divide deepens over Kyle’s development in downtown

Deep divisions over the future of downtown Kyle led city leaders earlier this month to halt action on several development-related items.

The division spurs a possible debate between residents and city council members on what they want to see happen in the downtown sector. 

The saga continued April 2 as city leaders took up a proposed rezoning of 1.43 acres at 801 West Center Street. Kyle city council tabled the item indefinitely due to pushback from neighbors, as well as to address the city’s Comprehensive Plan, which is up for a rewrite in 2019.

Kyle residents Ronald and Teresa Hayes originally applied to rezone their lot from Central Business District (CBD)-1 to CBD-2, which would allow them more options when the couple decides what to do with the land. CBD-2 zones allow various commercial retail businesses including restaurants and bars. Kyle’s Planning and Zoning Committee voted 5-1 to recommend approval of the rezoning.

Residents in the surrounding neighborhood, however, signed a petition, which was delivered to Mayor Travis Mitchell in late March, against the rezoning. The petition, as well as a handful of phone calls and correspondence, led city leaders to opt for a super majority vote to approve the rezoning.

Several downtown residents appeared at city council April 2 asking to keep the house zoned as CBD-1. The council tabled the item until a decision about the downtown area could be reached.

Several city leaders, including Mitchell and Mayor Pro-Tem Dex Ellision, said they ran on platforms to promote downtown business and economic growth. Aside from a row of businesses, bars and restaurants on Center Street, downtown Kyle is a majority residential downtown, bringing in less sales tax than the city would like.

“We have a comprehensive plan that recommends this lot as CBD-2. It is the council, the elected officials on this dais, that recommend the plan. That was the vision that was set out for Kyle, but maybe we need to relook at the plan,” Ellison said. “This comprehensive plan is what I ran on and what I think would let this downtown area thrive.”

Mitchell said he was disappointed by the resistance from downtown residents, and said that this vote was just another in a long list of petitions against development in the area. City leaders opted to wait on making additional moves in the downtown sector until they complete a rewrite of the Comprehensive Plan.

“We are met with opposition each and every time,” Mitchell said. “It’s disheartening, and if the council chooses to work with the owners in this area to preserve residential use, all I know is that there are consequences for that. I think it’s sad for our city.”

The rezoning item could go back to city council April 16.

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