Shadow Creek rep objects to PD changes

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The future of Pearland’s planned developments was a key topic at Monday’s City Council meeting, where a representative of Shadow Creek Ranch expressed concern with the city adding what equates to another layer of oversight.

Council discussed and then postponed a first reading of an item that would essentially restrict certain types of businesses within all the city’s planned developments.

The city has 50 planned developments, including Shadow Creek Ranch, scattered throughout Pearland. Known as PDs, they are specially created zoning districts, many a mix of residential and commercial, meant to encourage flexible and creative planning.

Recent changes to city-wide development policies didn’t apply to PDs, so the city had to consider implementing the same changes specifically to those developments. Those changes require a conditional use permit to be granted from the city for liquor and package stores, tobacco and vape shops as well as gas stations, gold exchanges, boarding houses and asphalt plants.

“We need to go through this parallel separate process for planned developments,” City Manager Clay Pearson said. “These uses still can be applied for but they will have to go through the conditional use permit process.”

Drew Pelter, general manager of Shadow Creek Ranch, spoke before council, pointing out that the Shadow Creek Ranch development agreement states the city agreed that it would not revoke or amend ordinances related to the TIRZ or development plan.

“It clearly states city ordinances cannot be revoked or amended that have a negative effect on Shadow Creek Ranch,” he said. “We have enjoyed 18 years of partnership with the city. This is a little bit of a curve ball.”

Whether or not the action would have a negative impact on the development is something that would need to be decided, City Attorney Darrin Coker told council.

“You don’t go 15 years and change the rules,” Pelter said.

Another layer of restriction can be a turn-off for developers, he said. “We want to stick to the original plan.”

“I think it’s something that really works on your behalf and preserves the quality of the community,” Mayor Tom Reid told Pelter.

Pelter disagreed, and said ultimately that PUDs take time, and for development firms, time is money.

“Sometimes disagreements can take weeks or months, and those are months that some users don’t want to take,” Pelter said. “We’ve got some examples of that. You say we’ve done a good job; I think we can bring it the last five yards.”

Councilman Keith Ordeneaux had been against adding CUP requirements all along.

“The power we have given the government and taken away from landowners by requiring a CUP is intense,” he said. “All this was based on a couple of gas stations we thought were building too close. When we sit up here and think government can solve people’s problems, that’s where we get in trouble.”

“That argument slips into ‘Let’s remove zoning,’” Councilman Trent Perez commented, saying he has specifically been asked by residents why so many gas stations are locating in their neighborhoods.

Perez did say the CUP process should be simplified one.

Pearland City Council normally meets on the second and fourth Mondays of each month at City Hall, 3519 Liberty Dr., beginning at 6:30 p.m. A period for public comment is provided.

Story by Nicole Jones