Devine City Council renames alley, rejects variance request

The Devine City Council approved a request by Bonnie Mendoza to name the alley behind her house Mendoza Alley, and rejected Gabriel Hausauer’s request to replat 406 Monticello Circle and 1505 Libold Drive into two lots at the Special meeting held last Tuesday, July 11.
Council members David Espinosa, Steve Lopez, Cory Thompson, and Kathy Wilkins were in attendance, as were Mayor Bill Herring, Interim City Administrator Dora Rodriguez, and City Attorney Tom Cate.
Councilman David Valdez was absent.
Variance request
406 Monticello Cir. and 1505 Libold Dr. are separate residences with distinct tax IDs and utilities, but actually share a single lot.
Former owner Howard Hicks petitioned the Planning and Zoning Commission for a variance to replat the lot into two lots, one for each house, in 2008 and again in 2011. The request was denied both times because subdividing the lot would make one of the new lots less than the 9,000 square feet as required in a Class A Single-Family zone.
According to Planning and Zoning minutes from 2008 and 2011, the home on Libold was constructed sometime after 1983, but there are no records of any variances being granted to allow two homes on one lot, or of when separate utility connections for each home were added.
New owner Hausauer requested a variance to replat the subdivide the plot into two properties at the June 29 Planning and Zoning meeting, and was also denied.
Hausauer explained that when he purchased the property from the Hicks family, it was with the understanding he could subdivide it and sell each home separately.
“When I called up the City and talked to Eddie [Diaz, Code Compliance officer], and he said it seemed like it was already broken down, but he needed to verify,” Hausauer said. “He called me back and said it looked like everything was okay, that I needed to do surveys on each property, so I did. The surveyor even called up Eddie and said, ‘Are you sure we could do that, because it seems like it’s on the same plat,’ he says that from his paperwork and what he’s looking at and from Medina County records, everything was good.”
Hausauer said that after being reassured by Diaz, he completed purchase of the property from Hicks and began to renovate the houses, and was in the process of selling one to a family when he was informed by the City that he couldn’t sell the properties separately.
“Now, going into looking at y’all’s guidelines, showing that each property has to be 9,000 square feet, I understand that, and I see that now,” Hausauer said. “But had all this been disclosed in the beginning, talking to the City, I feel I would have approached things differently.”
Cate said that the City wasn’t bound by misrepresentation by anyone in the municipal government.
“Mr. Hicks was the seller, and he knew the situation,” Cate said. “I don’t know why that information wasn’t conveyed when Mr. Hausauer bought the place.”
An Espinosa-Thompson motion to follow the Planning and Zoning Commission’s recommendation to deny the variance passed 4-0.
Mendoza Alley
Bonnie Mendoza’s home is located between Adams Ave., Wilson Dr., and Hayden Ave. Due to the location of other buildings, Mendoza’s home is only accessible by an unnamed dirt alley that runs between the houses that face Hayden Ave. and the ones that face Adams Ave.
Mendoza has recently required EMS services and said that ambulances have trouble finding her home because of its location.
“They can’t get to my house because they don’t know where I live, or how to get there,” Mendoza said.
Additionally, FedEx and UPS drivers have a difficult time making deliveries.
A Lopez-Wilkins motion to name the alley Mendoza Alley passed 4-0. It will also be added to the 911 listings.
“We’ll get that sign up as soon as possible,” Herring said.
By Marly Davis
Staff Writer