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Mayor vetoes decision on new development

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SHERRY LONG
The Ellis County Press

FERRIS - Mayor Jimmie Birdwell has overruled his council's decision to hold a new housing developer to current zoning restrictions, which would have required larger homes.

The proposed housing development was planned by Sterling Development for the east side of Ferris near South Meadows and was nixed by council members, when the developer refused to negotiate the size of the homes.

Current homes in the South Meadows subdivision are a minimum of 2,000-plus square feet.

Terry Weaver, Ster-ling's president, appeared before the council on March 17, asking permission to build 50 percent of the homes with an R2 zoning with the remainder zoned as R1.

R1 building specifications require a minimum of 1,600 square feet and R2 building specifications must have at least 1,200 square feet.

'We tried to work with the developer, offering a concession of 75/25,' said Councilman Jesse Hernandez.

Hernandez said it would have been a good arrangement with 75 percent of the homes containing 1600-plus square feet being located next to the existing homes and the smaller homes being built near the apartments.

'This is our Highland Park,' said Hernandez 'We're trying to set a standard for our city.'

Weaver refused to budge from his request of 50/50 and said, 'It's our way or the highway.'

Weaver withdrew the request for annexation that had accompanied the zoning request and stormed out of city hall after the measure was voted down by council members.

City council members voted down the ordinance 1-4 with the lone supporter of Sterling Development being Mayor Pro-Tem Scott Born.

Mayor Birdwell was unable to attend the last council meeting, so in his absence Mayor Pro-Tem Scott Born conducted the evening's meeting.

Birdwell later vetoed the vote on the development and rescheduled the request on the council's agenda for Monday, April 7.

'I wanted a chance to speak to the council members. I wanted to fully understand their position and wanted them to understand my position,' Birdwell said.

After learning of the veto by mail, Hernandez was frustrated it would have to be discussed again because the mayor's absence at the last council meeting.

'Seems like if he (Birdwell) wanted to discuss it with the council he had plenty of time to speak to us about this,' Hernandez said.

According to Birdwell, if he had not vetoed the council's decision under state law, the city would not be able to negiogiate with Sterling for a year concerning the development.


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