Proposed park-and-ride facility and extended stay hotel receive their Port Arthur fates

Published 10:09 am Saturday, February 3, 2024

Two zoning ordinance changes, one for a park-and-ride facility and another to allow a developer to rehab a vacant building to create an extended stay hotel, failed to gain approval by the city council.

Port Arthur City Council unanimously denied both issues this week.

Extended stay hotel

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In January council heard from Farhan Khokhar, asking for a zoning change from the current low-density residential to commercial retail zone for property located at 2689 65th St. in Port Acres. The site was formerly Gaspard’s Nursing Home and later as Shepherd’s Inn Gaspard Center Hospitality House, where people would stay while visiting an inmate locally.

Khokhar said he hoped to fix up the property, making it safe and secure while helping with the city’s need for housing.

A commercial retrial zone is a way to provide a location for commercial and retail activities, which are usually seen along major thoroughfares and highways, according to Aries Milo, senior planner with the City of Port Arthur.

On Tuesday, Mayor Thurman Bartie first voiced his thoughts on the change and need for growth.

“If we are going to grow in town we have to allow ourselves some form of discomfort,” Bartie said.

But, he said, a nursing home is a business as was the Shepherd’s Inn that was housed at the location at one time; alluding to the fact the property did serve as a business/commercial zone.

“It’s growth for the City of Port Arthur with all of the expansions all over the city,” he said. “If we are going to re-gentrify, regrow, redo Port Arthur it’s going to take something like that.”

District 4 Councilman Harold Doucet, who represents the area in question, said council needs to keep in mind ordinances when thinking of growth because if changing the ordinances goes against the residents, the council is no longer serving the citizens.

Back in January a number of residents spoke in opposition of the zoning ordinance change, worrying about traffic, road conditions and the condition of the current structure.

Taking the residents’ views in mind, council voted against the change.

Park and ride facility

The proposed zoning ordinance change for a park-and-ride facility to be located south of West Port Arthur Road between Shirley Street and 58th Street, which includes a portion of Leander, Violet, Gardenia, Camellia, Cox and Daisy Streets and a portion of Willow Drive, was struck down.

The city’s Planning and Zoning Commission previously rejected the change, which left the final decision up to the council.

In order for the council to override the P&Z decision would require it to be approved by a super majority, or three-fourths of the vote.

Instead it was a unanimous “no” vote thus killing the issue.

The request for the zoning change originated Nov. 9 from Kenneth Stewart, owner of BDS Constructors LLC, doing business as MK Constructors.