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Thursday, February 27, 1997

Council rejects beer permit zone change

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Staff Writer
PECOS, February 27, 1997 - Pecos City Council this morning spent more
time wrestling with landfill matters than in rejecting a proposal to
rezone two blocks in the Parker Heights Addition.

La Tienda owner Bill Fenn was heard to mutter, "I guess we'll file a
lawsuit," as he left the council meeting following the unanimous vote to
reject the planning and zoning commission's recommendation to rezone his
property from C-1 to C-2, which would allow the sale of beer and wine.

In a public hearing preceding the vote, Fenn and four others spoke in
favor of rezoning, while 11 local citizens opposed it.

Most of the testimony was the same the Planning and Zoning Commission
heard. Opponents say beer and wine sales near schools and churches in a
residential area would be detrimental.

Fenn said competition is the reason for his request to change the zone.

"We want to be on an even playing field with other competitors," he
said. "We are not trying to run anybody out of business, but we do want
to compete."

Debra Armstrong, co-owner of Western Package Store, said her business
would be hurt if La Tienda is allowed to compete.

John Morrow of Valley Distributors said he expects to sell more beer in
Pecos if the change is granted.

"As any business owner in West Texas can attest, the margin of profit
continues to shrink year after year," he said. Just because Fenn has the
only two supermarkets in Pecos doesn't mean his profits are great, he

"Aren't these the same people that hired an attorney to protest this?"
asked Weldon Brookshire, referring to a previous court case in which
local businesses and individuals opposed Furr's application for an
exception to the C-1 zone, allowing them to sell beer and wine in that

Fenn's other Eddy Street store, Bob's Thriftway, opposed that exception.
Fenn bought Furr's store and renamed it La Tienda in November, 1995.

"Don't we have decency in the residential area any more?" asked
Brookshire. "You will come right by there from school."

Jim Breese, a member of the zoning board of adjustment, said Norman
Harris and Johnny Jordan applied for an exception on the Pecos Autoplex
property to put in a mini-storage, new and used car and motor home sales.

"We granted the exception without beer and wine sales, and they agreed
to it," he said. "Now we are turning around trying to come in the back
door and do it again."

James Sain, pastor of West Park Baptist Church, was one of three pastors
speaking against the change.

"I have not heard any comments about not being able to buy alcoholic
beverages of any stripe, but a lot of comments about people who would
like to have another brand of groceries to pick from, and they drive out
of town to buy groceries," he said.

He said church members pick up beer cartons off the church yard almost
every Sunday morning, and last Sunday a broken beer bottle was found on
the sidewalk near the church building.

Jim Ivy said the C-1 zone has been in place for decades, and nothing has

City Attorney Scott Johnson advised the council to consider whether the
area has changed enough to merit spot zoning. The law states a change
may be made to protect or further health, safety, morals or the general
welfare, he said.

Answering a question as to whether the precinct where the tracts are
located is dry, Johnson said the Alcoholic Beverage Commission was here
last week checking county records to make that determination.

Robert Garcia, supervisor for Fenn stores, said he proposed adding beer
and wine sales to support heavy-labor additions of a bakery, deli and
tortilla factory.

"I proposed a full-time supermarket," he said..."We have not gone
through and raised prices left and right; just for inflation."

Kevin Duke said he favors the change because competition is good.

Frank Spencer, a member of the Planning and Zoning Commission, said
their decision was difficult.

"My concern was that there were a lot of people voicing their opinion
about whether this company is already making too much money," he said.
"We do live in a country of freedom of choice; freedom of enterprise,
and I believe that we should have that freedom. Who are we to judge
whether this company or the next company has already made too much

Randy Graham said he heard no testimony that conditions warrant a change.

"I can't see how selling beer will promote health and safety of the
community," he said.

"It bothers me some to go against the zoning board's recommendation,"
said Dr. Elvia Reynolds. "But in view of all these legal aspects, I
don't see how... when we took this office, we pledged to uphold the law.
As I see it, this is the law of Texas. It may be outdated, but it hasn't
been changed.

Stafford said the council plans to re-work the master zoning plan.

Ricky Herrera said if the council granted the change, other people would
come forward and want the same thing. "Where is this going to end?"

"I agree we have to look at what the facts are," said Danny Rodriguez.
"We appreciate everyone coming out and giving us your side. Decisions
are hard enough, but knowing how the community feels on both sides of
the issue really helps out."

Turning to the landfill trench, Graham said he has talked to the Texas
Natural Resources Conservation Commission, and they said it may be
possible for them to decide without an application whether a Type IV
trench would have to have a liner.

He maintains that a trench would be more costly to dig and maintain than
for WesTex Waste to accept construction waste at its transfer station
and haul it to Charter Waste's landfill near Penwell at $35 per ton.

Lawrence Kennedy of WesTex Waste said their profit margin is figured on
the city closing the landfill and allowing all waste to go through the
transfer station.

If the city digs a new trench and allows local people to dump limbs,
furniture and construction material there, WesTex Waste will have to
re-figure their revenue projections, he said.

Sammy Urias said WesTex Waste has been slow about picking up waste from
his alley and dumpster, even after he has called them. He strongly
argued for the city to provide a landfill for construction debris.

Dr. Reynolds said the council has agreed that the city will pay the
transfer cost for city residents and subsidize contractors by paying the
difference in the $24 charge made at the landfill and the $35 WesTex
Waste charges.

Herrera said people have complained of high rates, which is $15 a month
for sanitation fees.

"A few feel they shouldn't have to pay more than that to dump in the
landfill," he said. "I kind of agree."

Graham said the $15 charge is made because the city paid $2 million to
dig the landfill. It is that high cost that caused the council to
contract with WesTex Waste rather than dig another Type I trench.

Spencer volunteered to go to Austin at no charge with Graham and Armando
Gil to talk with the TNRCC about changing the permit from Type I to Type
IV and digging a trench without a liner.

Gil said the landfill remains open, despite complaints from citizens
that they found it closed. They may have gone to the old Type IV
landfill instead of the new one a little farther south on Texas Highway
17, he said.

Landfill hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Friday.

The council sold one piece of landfill equipment, but opted to reject a
bid on a loader and advertise for additional bids.

WesTex Waste won the bid for collection and refuse equipment at $250,900.

Lindsay Construction won the bid award of $22,100 for demolition of
condemned buildings. Salcido Sand and Gravel bid $24,900.

Building Inspector Jack Brookshire said three of the buildings have
already been demolished. A survey of American Motor Inn may be necessary
to determine whether it contains asbestos.

Action on a contract with Carlos Colina-Vargas to provide grant
assistance was tabled because Johnson has not reviewed it. Colina-Vargas
said he would continue to work on the application without a contract.

City manager hopefuls cut down to five

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Staff Writer

PECOS, February 27, 1997 - Five applicants for Pecos city manager are
to be invited for an interview in a special City Council meeting March 4.

Steve McCormick, finance officer, is the only local candidate among the
five. Others are Kenneth L. Neal of Anson, Raymond H. Kendall of
Gainesville, William H. Lewis of Edna and K.M. Waterstreet of Electra.

Waterstreet is the only female in the group. She is city manager for
the city of Electra, near Wichita Falls. She also has 11 years
experience in city management in Hutchins, Gun Barrel City, Crowley,
Garden Ridge and Argyle.

She majored in public administration at Southwest Texas State
University and the University of North Texas in Denton.

Lewis has resigned as city manger in Colorado to return to his Texas
homestead near Edna, where he helped his daughter establish a small
business. He has also served as city manager in Uvalde, Yoakum,
Giddings, Sugar Land, Portland and Newport, Ark.

Kendall began his work in city management as street superintendent in
Uvalde in 1959, worked up to city manger, then left in 1981 to work for
a pipe and steel operation. He did fee appraisal work in 1983, went to
Brady as city manager in 1994 and was city administrator for Alvarado
from Feb. 2, 1996 to Aug. 31, 1996.

Neal spent 19 years in diversified and increasingly responsible jobs as
a city administrator, community development coordinator, finance and
budget officer, human resource director and economic development liaison.

He is finance and human resource director in Anson, where he was city
administrator from 1974-1990. He was city administrator in Knox City for
three years in the interim.

McCormick is a certified public accountant with a degree in business
administration. He has been finance director for the Town of Pecos City
since 1993.

Prior to that, he was staff accountant for Dan Painter, CPA for four

Mayor Dot Stafford said the council will interview each of the five
candidates, then decide whether to offer one of them the position or to
interview additional applicants.

Teen faces adult trial for arson

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Staff Writer

PECOS, February 27, 1997 - A petition has been with the Reeves County
Attorney's office to certify a teenage boy who set fire to a local
funeral home vehicle as an adult.

Reeves County Juvenile Probation Officer Alberto Alvarez, Jr., said
earlier today that his office prepared the paperwork for certification
and has submitted it to County Attorney Walter Holcombe.

"He is now an adult," said Alvarez about the 17-year-old who threw three
matches into the front seat of a 1988 Chevrolet suburban parked outside
the Martinez Funeral Home on New Year's Eve.

The teen was 16-year-old that night, when he assaulted a police officer
and was taken into custody for disorderly conduct and public

Fire Marshal Jack Brookshire said the youth admitted to setting the
vehicle on fire, but recanted his story the following day, Jan. 1.

The city official said he kept questioning the teen about his being at
the scene of the incident on Dec. 31, 1996.

His efforts ended in the submission of a written confession by the teen,
who was arrested on a charge of arson on Feb. 20.

"He was released under a court order," said Alvarez, who said he remains
under his daily supervision.

Alvarez stated that the county attorney is being asked to try the young
man in criminal court instead of juvenile court.

An call to Holcombe had not been returned prior to press time.


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Tom Hurley

Service are incomplete for Tom Hurley, 72, who died this morning at his
Pecos Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.


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High Tuesday 59, low last night 33. Tonight, mostly cloudy. Low in the
lower to mid 40s. South To southwest wind 10-20 mph. Friday, mostly
cloudy and windy. High around 65. Southwest To west wind 20-30 mph and
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Copyright 1997 by Pecos Enterprise
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324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
Phone 915-445-5475, FAX 915-445-4321
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