AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — Early Monday, the Amarillo City Council, Planning and Zoning Commission, and citizens of North Heights took a tour of the neighborhood to discuss the North Heights Rezoning Initiative.
Amarillo City Manager Jared Miller said it is one thing to look at color blocks on a map when it comes to rezoning categories, he said it is another to see the conditions on the ground and to envision and create an idea in your head of what can exist in that area.
He said that the city is looking at having a more cohesive, logical zoning progression.
“Right now, we have a mixed match of zoning categories with high-intensity use right adjacent to low intensity uses. We want to manage that to the benefit of the area, so really that part of the discussion is managing intensity of uses,” said Miller.
A meeting of the Planning and Zoning Commission took place after the tour where they voted to rezone parts of North Heights west of Hughes and north of Amarillo Boulevard in 5-2 vote.
This rezoning would include less heavy industry and commercial and more light industry and retail.
Timothy Gassaway, president of the Amarillo Area Black Chamber of Commerce said the new rezoning would downgrade property in the area.
“In this ruling, the Planning and Zoning Committee came up with today it protected the business owners property, but currently the homeowners of North Heights, if you are being downgraded that’s your property value,” said Gassaway.
Melodie Graves with the North Heights Advisory Association said the new rezoning will benefit the area positively.
“I think there will be more homeownership that is going to empower the residents and then more businesses will be opened by the residents and we have to educate people so there’s a lot of work to be done,” said Graves.
Gassaway added the new rezoning plan is dividing the neighborhood.
“We all want the same thing, but it’s a process and you got to include everyone in the process per the implementation plan,” said Gassaway.
Miller said they have been seeking community input from the neighborhood during this entire process as they have been looking at rezoning North Heights.
The Planning and Zoning Commission passed part one Monday and it will move on to the Amarillo City Council where it will have the first reading on August 10th, and the Commission will look at part two for recommendation to the city council on August 2nd.