Some Royse City residents want their zoning left alone and told Planning and Zoning Commissioners that at a public hearing held about zoning changes on April 17.

Noted by city staff were two corrections to the zoning map that was released to the public. Hicks Road was titled in the wrong place on the map, and Fairway Ranch Estates was not noted as having already been annexed into the city limits, though it has.

The commission heard from Freeis Watson, who owns a Victorian home in an area to be changed to commercial. He voiced concern that if he built onto his house he didn’t want to be required to use masonry as it would alter the historic look. It was suggested that his home be declared a historic landmark, and thus be exempted.

The city also heard from at least two residents that desired for their property to remain zoned the same.

The issues were noted by the commission and will be considered in the next PAZ meeting prior to the vote on approval.

The public hearing by the Royse City City Council that was scheduled for April 18 was canceled.

“An agenda was never actually posted for this meeting,” said City Clerk Brenda Craft. “This was going to be an extra meeting. We don’t have to do it. Nothing has changed in the time-line. The Planning and Zoning Commission is still going to meet and vote on May 4.

At least one resident who showed up for the April 18 meeting expressed disappointment with the whole zoning change process.

“They say that our taxes aren’t going up,” said Alan Middleton, whose property will be affected by the change. “What they mean is that they’re not going to raise the tax rate. But our property values are going to go up because of this zoning change.

“The city sets the tax rate. The property value though, is set by the Rockwall Central Appraisal District. They’re going to appraise the property for a higher value and then they and the city can sit there and point fingers at each other while we all end up paying a lot more taxes,” Middleton said.

Craft stated after the meeting that this in not the case and that zoning should not increase property values.

“One of the first things Dan Boutwell (the City’s consultant) told everyone at the (April 17 meeting) was that a change in zoning does not mean the taxes are going to be higher,” Craft said. “The appraisal value is not done on the zoning, but what the property is being used for. The value of a residential home will be the same. It’s when they go to sell the property that it will be different. They will be able to get more for it because it’s in a commercial zone.”

Rockwall Central Appraisal District Chief Appraiser Ray Helm differed slightly, stating a gradual change could occur.

“Until something sells in the area the property value will probably be fairly the same,” said Helm. “Once we do see some sales transpire that could show a trend, the property value could go up.

“The reason is that we have to appraise a property at its highest value and best use. Until that happens, it will probably still be appraised as single family.”

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