By CHRIS AGEE
In response to an ongoing dispute surrounding a proposed package store, city council voted unanimously to remove an existing requirement in the city’s code of ordinances.
After May’s election permitted package stores in Mineral Wells, applicants were required to obtain a specific use permit from the city. After a nearby school and area churches voiced displeasure with plans to open such a store in the 700 block of S.E. 6th Street, city leaders revisited the existing ordinance.
City Manager Lance Howerton said specific use permits are unnecessary, explaining City Attorney George Gault recommended removing the requirement.
The city’s planning and zoning commission held a public hearing Monday and unanimously approved the amendment, Howerton added.
After holding a public hearing Tuesday night, council members voted 6-0 to amend the ordinance.
The action removes the specific use permit requirement for package stores and changes it to a permitted use. Zoning districts in which package stores are allowed remain unchanged.
In another agenda item related to alcohol sales, council unanimously approved granting a variance to CVS Pharmacy, allowing the retailer to sell beer and wine within 300 feet of public school property.
City Clerk Juanita Formby explained the store has sold beer for several years and school officials do not object to the variance. Additionally, she said area businesses including Chili’s, Walgreens and Walmart have received similar variances in the past.
Mineral Wells Police Chief Dean Sullivan touted the benefits of a partnership between Sam Houston State University and the MWPD at Tuesday’s meeting, after which council members unanimously authorized the agreement.
Sullivan said the partnership would allow local officers to utilize in-vehicle mobile software, replacing the agency’s current outdated software.
Through a lease agreement costing $20,000 per year, he said the MWPD and city fire departments will have access to computer aided dispatch and mobile operation support.
The program will allow first responders to work more efficiently, Sullivan noted, for a significantly lower cost compared to an upgrade of existing software.