By BILL PETERSON
Editor at Large
KYLE – The continuing saga of Center Street took another step towards some unknown resolution Tuesday night when the Planning and Zoning Commission (P&Z) agreed to a new category that would permit an existing restaurant use.
The P&Z voted, 6-1, to include a category for “restaurants” in Central Business District-1 (CBD-1), which runs along Center Street from Nance Street almost to Rebel Drive. Under the use, sit-down restaurants with on-site cooking could operate within the zone, provided they do not include drive-throughs or serve alcohol.
The provision will go before the Kyle City Council for a first reading at the May 6 meeting.
The city is writing the new category at the request of a restaurant, Manna from Heaven, at 602 W. Center Street. The previous two businesses at that location, Rally Round Bakehouse and The Motley Menagerie, operated restaurants, although that was not a permitted use within CBD-1.
City Manager Tom Mattis said last month that the city simply hadn’t been aware of the discrepancy, lacking the staff to pour through a confusing array of uses in CBD-1.
The city established CBD-1 as a compromise in 2003, after downtown residents protested an effort to fully mix downtown uses. A more full-blooded central business district, CBD-2, runs along Center Street east from Nance Street to IH-35.
At least two other developments in the last few weeks have muddied the discussion about CBD-1.
First, the city council last week approved a variance request for Chris Cyr to build a Shipley’s Donut store at Meyer and Center Streets, within CBD-1. Though residents in the area objected, a use called “fast food donuts” is allowed within the zone.
However, the Shipley’s project might have died if the council hadn’t waived the requirement for all parking in the rear of the building. The variance will enable Shipley’s to set up a drive-through.
Meanwhile, Kyle Mayor Mike Gonzalez is establishing a committee to more comprehensively discuss the future plan for downtown Kyle. At a council meeting last month, Gonzalez expressed a desire to address all downtown zoning issues at once, rather than one issue at a time.
Kyle P&Z Commissioner Lila Knight, the only dissenting vote against the new restaurant designation in CBD-1, gave the mayor’s initiative as the reason for her vote.
“I think we have to wait before making changes to CBD-1 or CBD-2 until the mayor’s committee has decided what the future of the area is going to be,” Knight said.
Kyle resident Angie Chapa, who lives on Center Street catty-corner from the future Shipley’s location, said she is very worried about the fall-out from additional traffic on Center Street as new businesses draw drivers into CBD-1.
Chapa said traffic on the street already backs up when a train crosses east of Front Street and additional traffic will force escaping cars onto narrow egress points like Burleson Street and Blanco Street, where Kyle Elementary School is located.