AUGUST 20, 2007

COMMISSIONERS PRESENT: Chairman Tom Austin, Vice-Chairman Bob Murphy, Secretary, Jerry King, Jayne Christian, Phil Philipp, Dave Lester, Carol Ann Adams, and Dr. Scott Moulton.


CITY STAFF PRESENT:  Kevin Lasher, Chief City Planner, Martin Barkman, Senior Planner, Mary Elliott, Senior Planner, Daon Stephens, Transportation Services, Steve Alcorn, Assistant City Attorney, and Chris Hartmann, Executive Secretary.

Chairman Tom Austin called the meeting to order at 7:13 p.m.  


CONSENT AGENDA ITEMS: disapproval of plats without prejudice for the following agenda Items: #1-P070901, RP070901, RP070902, and P070903.

Motion was made to disapprove the above listed plats without prejudice. The action and vote recorded as follows:

Motion:  Murphy                                            

Second:  Lester                                               

Ayes:  Austin, Murphy, Philipp, Lester, King, Christian, Adams, and Moulton.

Nays: None

Approved: 8-0

Motion carried.


Motion was made to approve the minutes of the Planning and Zoning Commission meeting of August 6, 2007 with corrections noted during the briefing session. The action and vote recorded as follows:

Motion:  Murphy                                                            

Second:  Lester                                                    

Ayes: Austin, Philipp, Lester, Murphy, King, Christian, Adams, and Moulton.

Nays: None

Approved: 8-0

Motion carried.

AGENDA PUBLIC HEARING ITEM #Z070801, Zoning Change, 638 W. Church Street                            (City Council District 5)


Senior Planner Marty Elliott presented the case to the Commission for approval of a zoning change from Planned Development District No. 71 (PD-71) for a Dance Studio to a Planned Development District for Neighborhood Services with certain land use exclusions. The site is generally located at the northeast corner of N.W. 7th Street and W. Church Street.  The owner/applicant is Dr. Pat Downey.

The applicant is proposing to establish a chiropractors’ office that will provide space for two doctors and one assistant. An additional assistant may be hired at a later date. The hours of operation will be Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., and occasionally Saturdays from 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

Required off-street parking for a professional office is one space per 300 square feet of building area. In this case, the 1,500 square foot building will require five parking spaces. The site survey shows five spaces plus one handicap parking space. The concrete pad for a demolished garage structure will be used for the handicap parking space. The rest of the parking spaces will be asphalt, which was in place prior to this submittal. The applicant has agreed to resurface the asphalt parking to create a dust free surface. Transportation Services recommends that if the applicant wants to utilize the two existing driveway approaches, then the circulation will need to be one-way and the aisle width will need to be 10 to 11 feet wide. Staff also recommends that entry and exit signs be used to direct traffic flow.

PD-71 requires a living screening hedge be erected along the east property line. The current property owner to the east of the subject property prefers natural vegetation to a screening fence. There are three mature trees on the east side of the property, Live Oaks and a Hackberry. The applicant wants to keep these trees and is willing to plant three large shrubs along the east property line to increase the amount of vegetation. The shrubs will be Oleander bushes placed approximately six feet on center, and will grow to a height of 10 to 12 feet.

There is also a mature Pecan tree on the west side of the property and various shrubs and vines along the north and west fence lines that will remain intact. The existing chain link fence will also remain in place for the time being.

The site may include a wall sign or monument sign, which meets the requirements of Article 9, “Sign Standards,” of the Unified Development Code. Signage cannot be internally illuminated, but external landscape lights may be directed towards a monument sign. The applicant has indicated the monument sign placement on the site survey.

The applicant will also be providing improvements to the building, including foundation repair and Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliance.

The applicant is not requesting any appeals with this application.

The Development Review Committee recommends approval of this request for a Planned Development for Neighborhood Services excluding a gas sales/convenience store and dry cleaners with site plan waiver.

Chairman Austin stated there would be two doctors and one assistant that would be occupying at least three of the required parking spaces and asked if there would be enough parking to accommodate the patients.

Mrs. Elliott stated the two doctors are a married couple and should not use more than two spaces.

Mr. Alcorn stated the parking requirements are based on the floor space dedicated for the use and not on the amount of employees.

Dr. Pat Downey, 605 E. Palace Parkway, Grand Prairie, TX stepped forward representing this case and stated the other physicain working along with him would be his wife. They live within the neighborhood and would therefore not be utilizing any of the parking spaces. Only the assistant would need a parking space.  Dr. Downey said he spoke with the sorrounding neigbhors who are in support of this request.

Commissioner Murphy asked if Dr. Downey had already purchased the property.

Dr. Downey replied yes.

Commissioner Philipp asked if the main entrance to the facility would be located along the north side of the property.

Dr. Downey stated he is required to put in a ramp by the American with Disabilities Act, and after reviewing the parking layout they have determined the main entrance would be located either on the east or the south side of the property.

Mr. Alcorn noted one speaker card was submitted in support of this case who did not wish to speak.

Judy Armstrong, 811 Hampshire Drive, Grand Prairie, TX

There being no further discussion on the case, Commissioner Murphy made a motion to close the public hearing and approve case Z070801. The action and vote recorded as follows:

Motion:  Murphy      

Second:  King                                


Ayes:  Austin, Murphy, Christian, Philipp, Lester, King, Adams, and Moulton.

Nays: None       

Approved:  8-0

Motion carried.

AGENDA PUBLIC HEARING ITEM #TA070801, Text Amendment, Article 10, “Parking and Loading Standards”.


Chief City Planner Kevin Lasher presented this admendment to the Commission for approval to amend Article 10, “Parking and Loading Standards” of the Unified Development Code.  The proposed amendments include increasing engineering standards for pavement construction for drive approaches on or within City street rights-of-way, reducing parking ratios for certain land uses, establishing a maximum not-to-exceed parking ratio for non-residential buildings over 30,000 square feet in area, and providing for an appeal process for varying the minimum and maximum parking count requirement.  The applicant is the City of Grand Prairie, Planning and Development Department.

Mr. Lasher indicated the purpose of this amendment is to:


Reduce the amount of impervious surface, and resultant drainage runoff, from retail and commercial developments that require large parking areas under the City’s current parking standards.


To optimize and encourage a more effective utilization of commercial and retail land uses within the city’s commercial corridors by allowing land area previously required for surface parking to be converted into developable lots for businesses.


To encourage the use of grassed cellular paving systems, with either concrete or plastic cell structures, for required surplus/overflow parking areas. This provision would be implemented in conjunction with an appeal from the developer/builder to exceed the maximum permitted parking count.


To discourage inappropriate uses of parking areas by prohibiting auto sales, repair work, dismantling or service of vehicles or equipment within a designated parking lot.


To improve paving requirements for drive approaches located inside city street rights-of-way.


Clarifications and technical corrections related to residential parking requirements, including those for multi-family and townhouse development, are also addressed by this amendment.

Mr. Lasher stated Appendix E, Section 4.b. of the Comprehensive Plan of the City of Grand Prairie, established by Ordinance number 7295, recommends “a reduction in the footprint of parking areas to reduce the overall imperviousness associated with parking lots”. Furthermore, staff seeks to optimize and improve the utilization of commercial and retail land uses within the city’s commercial corridors. It is in this spirit that the Development Review Committee recommends adoption of the proposed amendments to Article 10, “Parking and Loading Standards” as shown in the draft ordinance.

Commissioner Murphy asked what is the composition of the Development Review Committee.

Mr. Lasher replied the Development Review Committee consists of staff from various city departments who are responsible for reviewing development proposals submitted to the city. Some of those staff members come from the various departments located within the Development Center which include the Building Inspections Department, Fire, Police, Environmental Services, Transportation, Planning and Engineering. Mr. Alcorn, Assistant City Attorney also sits on the Committee.

In response to additional questions from Commissioner Murphy, Mr. Lasher stated the Committee has approximately twenty to thirty city staff members who review applications submitted through the Planning Department.

Commissioner Murphy confirmed that the committee included the Police, Fire and utility departments and asked how the Committee makes their decisions.

Mr. Lasher stated all cases and matters before the Committee are reviewed for compliance with the Unified Development Code (UDC). It is the UDC that governs the Committee’s review process.

Commissioner Murphy asked if the Committee votes on any items.

Mr. Lasher stated the Committee only decides if a case complies with the UDC. The voting process is for the P&Z Commission and City Council to handle.

Chairman Austin asked if a discussion item discussed during the briefing session regarding this amendment could be handled by the City Council with additional language to the text (the item in question is Section 6, Residential Off-Street/On Site Parking Requirements and Section 13, Waivers and Exceptions.)  

Mr. Lasher stated the Commission can consider those provisions at a later date so that they may be advertised accordingly. He deferred to Mr. Alcorn for verification.

Mr. Alcorn replied he would take the position that the additional amendments would need to be re-advertised before the Planning and Zoning Commission can consider those provisions.


Chairman Austin and Commissioner Murphy stated they would have no problem bringing the additional amendments back to the Planning and Zoning Commission.

Chairman Austin noted there were no speaker cards submitted for this case.

There being no further discussion on the case, Commissioner Lester made a motion to close the public hearing and approve case TA070801. The action and vote recorded as follows:

Motion:  Lester      

Second:  Christian                                


Ayes:  Austin, Murphy, Christian, Philipp, Lester, King, Adams, and Moulton.

Nays: None       

Approved:  8-0

Motion carried.

Commissioner King extended condolences to Commissioner Carol Ann Adams and Steve Adams for the lost of Mr. Adams mother, Mrs. Frank Adams.

Commissioner Murphy moved to adjourn the meeting.

The meeting adjourned at 7:35 p.m.


Tom Austin, Chairman



Jerry King, Secretary