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Bev's Burner
Some's Hot, Some's Not 

By B.K. Carter

"Bev Carter is the owner/publisher of the Fort Bend Star, winner of numerous state and national awards. She has been a voice of Fort Bend's largest circulated newspaper for 30 years."


 

Trouble in Stafford......There’s a tempest brewing in Stafford about new building codes that will affect the Stafford “island,” which is the area of the city located between south and north Main Street (Hwy. 90-A) and is considered by many as the heart of the city.

Zoning is Stafford has long been on the agenda (at least 20 years that I can remember), and it is thought that new building codes will take care of the many things that zoning won’t.

A group of business owners in the “island” area are concerned not about the new building codes but about that part of the codes dealing with existing buildings. That part of the code is commonly referred to at “369” and that part of the code deals with changes mandated to existing businesses.

As one local businessman related to me, “We are not against the building codes, but we want to be part of the solution and have input into the requirements.

The codes are currently before the Planning and Zoning Commission, but the businessmen are concerned that members of the commission are passing around a petition to force the codes on the ballot. “This petition is not only factually wrong,” according to one of my sources, “but is loaded with emotionally charged language.” One member of the commission was quoted as saying that if some businesses have to go out of business because they can’t meet the code, then “so be it!”

The business owners say they are all for making the island attractive, but resent strong-arm tactics being used to ramp up the debate.

They contend that building codes do need to be enacted soon, but think the 369 part of the code, dealing with existing businesses, has no urgency and the city ought to study the impact at the very least.

“We are not against, but we want to make sure some of our businesses aren’t put out of business,” they say.

The 58 different landowners of the 24 acres are not being treated fairly if the rules are changed in the middle of the game, they say.

For those already in Stafford, the 369 clauses won’t go into effect for nine years; the business group can’t understand why six more months will make a difference. They want to cut the 369 clauses out of the ordinance for now for further study with input from them.

A member of the group pointed out that the first set of rules called for concrete fences until Mayor Scarcella discovered how much that would cost him for his own property. “That suddenly disappeared out of the ordinance,” they point out.

The business group point out that it is unethical and a conflict of interest for any member of the P & Z to be passing around a petition concerning the ordinance.

Stafford feuds are legend as many of the old families in Stafford are related to each other. I heard more than once, “XXX may be my cousin, but.....”

I’ll keep you informed about the status of the situation in future stories and columns.

And a good time was had......Richmond’s celebration of Mayor Hilmar Moore’s record-setting tenure in office can best be characterized as “cookies inside and cookies outside.”

The centerpiece of the celebration was the unveiling of Mayor Moore’s life-size stature, sculpted by reknown artist Bob Pack. Pack’s best known local pieces include the Stephen F. Austin horse stature at Sugar Land Town Square and the stature in front of the Sugar Land Police Department.

A reception was held inside St. John’s Methodist Church Wendt Hall across the street from city hall. There, several presentations of Mayor Moore’s public life were on display and those attending were served punch, fruit and cheese and a cookie table.

After the reception, guests were invited outside for the unveiling and speechifying. One could sit in the sun on one side of the street or one could stand in the shade on the other side of the street. The audience was mixed with half on the sunny side and half on the shady side. Silly me, I choose the sunny side because there was a rock for me to sit on and at the time, it was in the shade, a little.

County Judge Bob Hebert was the Master of Ceremonies and the audience heard how the Richmond Historical Society put the celebration together. Speakers included Richmond City Manager Glen Gilmore, Lynn Humphries, past president of the Lamar Little League, Fran Knueppel, president of the Historic Richmond Association, and Bob Pack, the sculptor of the statue.

Both of Mayor Moore’s sons, Jack and Hill, spoke of their father.

After a few remarks from Mayor Moore himself, almost the entire Moore clan was present for the unveiling. Hilmar himself said he never realized until he first saw the stature that he stands the way he does with his hands on his hips and his right foot slightly forward.

After the unveiling, drinks and cookies were served outside under a tent.

Hilmar Moore is going on his 60th year of service to the City of Richmond as mayor. He has stood for re-election 29 times, and last Friday, the day of the celebration, marked the anniversary of the day the Richmond Rotary Club asked him to fill the unexpired term of the former mayor.

 

Contact bkcstar@earthlink.net, if you would like to express your opinions/views regarding the column. Write a SIGNED letter to the editor with valid day time phone number--name can be withheld by request.

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   Last Update:  December 03, 2008