By Marty Mayfield
Raton Country Club area residents showed up in force and were upset with the city commission’s acceptance to not overturn the decision of the Planning and Zoning Commission to allow Bee Hive to build an assisted living facility on the property west of the old ARF building.
The property owners in the Country Club addition argued that they have created covenants for the country club area that have restrictions to the type of facility that Bee Hive is proposing to build in the area. The owners claim that the Raton Planning and Zoning Commission have a duty to follow the city zoning ordinances and not allow a business to locate in a residential area, and also felt the commission didn’t consider all the information when they recently granted the exception.
Federal law does not allow discrimination of the elderly and therefore allows for assisted living facilities in residential areas but the covenants the country club property owners have in place do not allow multiple dwelling living facilities and the sentiment by the property owners is not in our backyard. Several of those speaking said they are not against Bee Hive locating in Raton just not in that location. They suggested there are many other properties in Raton that could be a viable location for the facility.
Commissioners then voted on four items concerning the actions of the Planning and Zoning Commission. Based on the hearing evidence and what has been presented to commissioners they voted that the Planning and Zoning Commission did act appropriately and did not violate any laws in allowing the special exception. The commission therefore did not overturn the decision of the Planning and Zoning Commission to allow the special exception for Bee Hive to build in that area just west of ARF.
Owner and Attorney Sarah Montoya told the commission that the Planning and Zoning Commission failed to protect the property owners from this type of active business and added they will exercise their right to appeal the city commission decision and will take this issue to court.
City Manager Scott Berry wondered if the city should be responsible for enforcing covenants especially if the covenants conflict with federal law.
In other commission business commissioners approved the financial report (General Fund Summary 1-31-2015) noting that the Gross Receipts Tax revenue is just 1.3% below budget. City Treasurer, Michae lAnne Antonucci reported that the city’s cash balance was in better shape now than in the past several months because of recent payments from the state property tax fund.
They also approved the application of local government road fund grants for reconstruction work on Hospital Drive and Card Ave. City Manager Scott Berry told commissioners the money will be used to reconstruct the intersection on Hospital Drive and Card Avenue and repave Hospital Drive up to the old hospital.
In the city manager report Berry told commissioners that the meetings in Santa Fe went well and that the discussions with the state engineer about the Lake Maloya Dam repairs and rehabilitation will be expensive, probably in the millions of dollars.
Berry also noted that Dr. David Ivan who is a small town economic development specialist at the University of Michigan will be in town Monday March 9 at 6:00 p.m. at the Convention Center to talk about small town economic development and ways for small towns to compete in today’s economy. Berry is asking that everyone who can to attend the meeting.
The next regular city commission meeting will be Tuesday, March 10 at 6:00 p.m. and will be carried on KRTN 1490 AM.
This video is the Action Items from the city commission meeting
This is the video from the public hearing to appeal the special exception passed by the Planning and Zoning Commission