By Chris Edwards
WOODVILLE – The Woodville City Council held a hearing on Monday evening, prior to the council’s regular monthly meeting. The topic of the hearing was to receive an update on the Willis Motel.
The council spoke via Zoom, and in person, with representatives of the property’s owners, including Caitlin Morrell, an attorney, who was present at the meeting.
The owners have indicated that there is a pending sale, and the potential buyer has asked for additional time to close the sale, as well as assurance that the council has no demolition order scheduled.
Last month, another hearing was held, where city attorney Brad Elrod informed council that the owners had reacquired the property from foreclosure. Previous owners had been served notice two years ago by the city that the property was found to be a nuisance and ordered condemned in August 2021.
An inspection showed the property is more than 50% dilapidated and would cost more to repair or rehab than what it is worth.
The council agreed to give 30 days to resolve the sale of the property, and have asked the owners to report back with an update at the Jan. 8 meeting of the city council, along with a written plan for what is to be done with the property.
Councilmember Lee Mann said “we just need to move forward with this.”
The city does not have the ability or resources to secure the property, since it is private property, however, the owners have said they have taken the steps to secure it.
Subdivision variance denied
A subdivision within the city limits, the plat of which was approved in 2021, came up on Monday’s agenda. Representatives with Suarez Construction interacted with the councilmembers via Zoom and approached the city about decreasing setback lines for the lots in the subdivision as well as the size of the lots.
City ordinance calls for lots to be at least 5,000 square feet, and the request called for 3,900 square-foot lots for a total of 20 lots in the subdivision, with 20-foot setback lines from the street and seven foot from the rear.
Originally, the subdivision, which is owned by Gil Tubb and to be located behind the former Magnolia Bar and Grill, called for 12 lots, each 50-foot wide.
The representatives said that all of the information on the subdivision is, at present, preliminary, as no replatting or survey has been done, but the idea is to offer 1,000-square foot, two-bedroom homes in the $225-$250K range.
Mayor Amy Bythewood warned that a precedent is set once an ordinance variance is granted and added that she did not see how it would be possible to fit 20 homes in the space outlined by the developers.
Councilmember Paula Jones motioned to not grant the variance, and all but Lee Mann voted with Jones.
During Monday evening’s meeting, the Woodville City Council also approved the following items of business:
• Councilmember Paula Jones was appointed to represent the City of Woodville on the Tyler County Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors.
• Councilmember Joyce Wilson was appointed to serve as Mayor Pro-Tem for the current term.
• City Administrator Mandy Risinger announced the plans for the annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Day parade to take place on Jan. 15, 2024.
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