Traffic concerns, character lead P&Z to deny zone change

By Jack King

Twenty-eight residents of an east-Clovis neighborhood appeared at the city’s planning and zoning commission meeting on Wednesday to oppose a request to build four duplexes in the 2400 block of Fred Daugherty Drive.
Commissioners present at the meeting — Chairman Jim Wilkerson, Bill Bollinger, Juan Garza, Tom Martin, Richard Vela — voted 5-0 to deny the zone change, which would have made the project possible.
Robert C. Lydick, representing property owners Bar Sons Inc., said the public utilities were already installed and the area, in the Eastland subdivision, has not been developed for several years. The duplexes would be red brick with covered garages, he added.
Planning and Zoning Administrator Louis Gordon said the development met the requirements of the city’s zoning ordinance and was consistent with its comprehensive plan.
Several residents testified they oppose duplexes in the neighborhood, saying they would harm the character of the neighborhood and add to traffic in an already congested area.
“We’re not against development, but we do oppose duplexes. We’d have to ask if (the developer) is attempting to maximize his profit at our loss?” asked Wesley Stewart, who lives on Janeway Street.
Bollinger said the commission has received more telephone calls against the request than any issue he can recall.
Wilkerson said Bar Sons Inc. may appeal the decision to the Clovis City Commission.
The commissioners also voted 5-0 to deny a request to change the zoning of land bordering Hammond Boulevard from single-family residential to ranchette. Approximately 80 acres, the land is jointly owned by Clovis Public Schools and Helen Hammond. It has been zoned residential, but has not been developed, the commission said.
Delbert Sours told the commission he has farmed the land for 12 years. He said the change would allow him to run about 56 head of cattle there during years when he is able to raise winter wheat on it.
But four area residents at the meeting said they have bought houses in the area and had been told the land would be used for a new public school or for residential housing. They said they don’t want the smell or possible contamination of cattle grazing near their homes and fear that children might be injured by an electric fence used to keep the cattle in the field.
“Houses in the neighborhood run between $250,000 and $300,000. When I bought a $150,000 home there I didn’t buy it to put up with the bacteria and smell (of grazing cattle),” said Wade VanHoose, a resident of Miller Street.
Bollinger said zoning the land for ranchettes would allow Sours to put the electric fence right on the property line. He suggested zoning it “neighborhood conservation-livestock,” which would allow the city to require the fence be set back from the property line.
City Commissioner Gloria Wicker said Hammond had asked her to speak on her behalf.
“Mrs. Hammond says it is her desire that the land be zoned ranchette. Her family has owned and farmed the land for 50 years. I don’t think this commission or the city commission has a right to tell them what they can do with their land,” she said.
In other business, the commission,
–Approved changing the name of Bonita Road to Robert L. Moreno Drive.
–Approved a change in the Clovis City Code to outlaw keeping swine in city limits.