City approves zoning change

Google maps Clovis City Commissioners approved a zoning change for Raintree Estates near Llano Estacado Blvd.

By Kevin Wilson: CNJ staff writer

Clovis City Commissioners approved a zoning change for Raintree Estates, but not before they heard “marching orders” to widen Norris Street to four lanes.

The measure passed 7-1, with Commissioner Robert Sandoval voting no, after residents made concerns known.

The zoning changed, marked for approval at last week’s planning and zoning commission meeting, would let developers re-designate a 15-acre section on the northeast part of the intersection of Norris and Llano Estacado streets. The section would be split between townhouses and a block for businesses and professional office buildings.

Proponents of the plan, including developer Chad Lydick, said the section would add value to neighboring homes because of the businesses’ convenient location for residents.

“We want to do something that’s going to add value to the area, not detract,” Lydick said.

Residents agreed the development would be progress, but worried about the traffic congestion for neighboring roads already burdened by overuse from the roundabout.

Janice Cross, who lives on Glenfield Drive, had objected to the plan during the planning and zoning meeting and reiterated her concerns to commissioners.

“Already, with the school on the corner and with 801 Housing,” Cross said, “there are times of the day when we can’t turn left and there are even times when we can hardly turn right.”

Other residents echoed her concerns, and Lily Rousseau of Ben Crenshaw Street said the roundabout means more noise and dangerous conditions for residents because drivers rarely observe the posted speed limits.

“A lot of people are driving improperly now, and I wonder if there are going to be more accidents,” said Beverley Smith, who said drivers are already using Tom Watson, the street she lives on, instead of the roundabout.

Most residents said congestion could be somewhat alleviated if the northern part of Norris Street was turned into a four-lane road, and asked the rezoning not be approved until that condition was met.

Clovis Mayor Gayla Brumfield said the widening of Norris has been in the top three legislative priorities for the city, but citizen concerns may have moved it to the top spot in her mind.

Mayor Pro-Tem Randy Crowder said he received numerous calls from residents, “their voices were clear” at the meeting and the city has “received marching orders” to widen Norris.