A lengthy discussion regarding a variance to a city ordinance took place during the meeting of the City Council in West Orange on Monday. The variance request was made regarding a proposed Recreational Vehicle park to be located in the city.
Austin Mellen of Dal Sasso Enterprises asked the City of West Orange for the variance. The request was to allow the proposed RV park at Foreman Road and Williams Street not be required to have an onsite manager’s office or restroom and shower facilities at the location as required by the city ordinance.
Council members Brent Dearing, Dale Dardeau, Mike Shugart, and Randy Branch shared their opinions on granting the variance. Dearing questioned the stipulation in the ordinance requiring the showers and the restrooms which would probably need to be handicap accessible even though the recreational vehicles are basically a house on wheels and have their own of both inside of them.
Branch suggested requiring the owners of the park to have the shower and restroom facilities constructed while recommending the owners charge a higher fee for that service. “If we’ve got an ordinance, we ought to stick to it because once you start varying from the ordinances that you have on the books, now if we want to change the ordinance that’s something else, we can do that,” Branch replied.
Dardeau called for the vote which did not sit well with council member Mike Shugart who wanted further discussion. When the vote was taken the variance was defeated 4 to 2, with Dearing and Shugart the two council members voting for the variance to be granted.
Mayor Roy McDonald explained the ordinances were written to correct past problems in the city and why variances are usually not granted to ordinances in West Orange. “You might as well tear your ordinance up and throw it away if you start giving variances,” McDonald concluded.
The council unanimously approved Philip Welch as the nominee by West Orange to the Board of Directors for the Orange County Appraisal District. The nominee is to fill a vacancy on the board.
Authorization was given by the City Council for submitting an application of a Community Development Block Mitigation Grant to the Texas General Land Office. The application is for grant funds of $3,790,353 to provide flood and drainage improvements. West Orange is committing $38,287 as matching funds toward the administration and construction in this planned mitigation project.
Updates were approved to the city’s financial policies. The changes will ensure the policies are compliant with federal regulations in accordance with block grant mitigation requirements.