Clovis City Commissioners approved a zoning change for Raintree Estates, but not before they heard “marching orders” to widen Norris Street to four lanes.
The measure passed 7-1, with Commissioner Robert Sandoval voting no, after residents made concerns known.
The zoning changed, marked for approval at last week’s planning and zoning commission meeting, would let developers re-designate a 15-acre section on the northeast part of the intersection of Norris and Llano Estacado streets. The section would be split between townhouses and a block for businesses and professional office buildings.
Proponents of the plan, including developer Chad Lydick, said the section would add value to neighboring homes because of the businesses’ convenient location for residents.
“We want to do something that’s going to add value to the area, not detract,” Lydick said.
Residents agreed the development would be progress, but worried about the traffic congestion for neighboring roads already burdened by overuse from the roundabout.
Janice Cross, who lives on Glenfield Drive, had objected to the plan during the planning and zoning meeting and reiterated her concerns to commissioners.
“Already, with the school on the corner and with 801 Housing,” Cross said, “there are times of the day when we can’t turn left and there are even times when we can hardly turn right.”
Other residents echoed her concerns, and Lily Rousseau of Ben Crenshaw Street said the roundabout means more noise and dangerous conditions for residents because drivers rarely observe the posted speed limits.
“A lot of people are driving improperly now, and I wonder if there are going to be more accidents,” said Beverley Smith, who said drivers are already using Tom Watson, the street she lives on, instead of the roundabout.
Most residents said congestion could be somewhat alleviated if the northern part of Norris Street was turned into a four-lane road, and asked the rezoning not be approved until that condition was met.
Clovis Mayor Gayla Brumfield said the widening of Norris has been in the top three legislative priorities for the city, but citizen concerns may have moved it to the top spot in her mind.
Mayor Pro-Tem Randy Crowder said he received numerous calls from residents, “their voices were clear” at the meeting and the city has “received marching orders” to widen Norris.
Meetings watch: Clovis City Commission
• The commission declined a waiver for Clovis resident Steve Brooks, who was in violation of a neighborhood covenant with his camper parked in his driveway.
Brooks had asked for an appeal because he keeps the camper in good condition and every resident in his cul-de-sac on Cade Street said they had no problem with it.
“I have never fielded a complaint,” Brooks said. “I have never received a phone call, an e-mail, or a letter except for the one from the city.”
Dennis Rogers, who owns and rents one of the homes in the cul-de-sac, said the camper’s presence with Brooks’ four other vehicles creates parking issues and makes the property difficult to rent or sell.
Mayor Pro-Tem Randy Crowder told Brooks he planned to vote against him because of the precedent that would be created by making an exception when Brooks’ backyard was adequate to store the camper.
The commissioners voted 4-4 — Chris Bryant, Isidro Garcia, Len Vohs and Robert Sandoval for the waiver; Crowder, Fred Van Soelen, Ron Edwards and Juan Garza against. Mayor Gayla Brumfield voted no to break the tie.
• Commissioners appointed members to a new animal control task force. The task force will include nine voting members — a commissioner and citizen from each district, and an at-large representative.
Members approved included Garza and David Hudson for District 1, Vohs and Linda Cross for District 2, Sandoval and a citizen to be named later for District 3, Edwards and Betty Thompson for District 4 and Col. Mark Brown of Cannon Air Force Base as the at-large member.
The task force’s first meeting is 11 a.m. June 30 at city hall.
• Commissioners appointed Peggy Tedford to the lodger’s tax board. Tedford, general manager for Fairfield Inn and Suites, said in her application she has been in Clovis for nearly two months and she was active in the community when she lived in Roswell.
• The commission approved a letter of support for American Renewable Fuels as the company secures loans for a biodiesel production facility. Edwards and Crowder voted no, and Crowder said his vote was based on what he considered excessive water usage.
• The commission unanimously approved a letter of support for New Mexico American Water to explore the Lower Dockum Aquifer to see if it can be a water source for Clovis.
The Lower Dockum Aquifer is located below and is not connected to the Ogallala Aquifer, according to Brumfield’s letter.