Proposed restaurant to appeal zoning decision

By Argen Duncan: PNT senior writer

Portales City Councilors will hear an appeal of a zone change for a proposed restaurant at their meeting scheduled for 7 p.m. Tuesday.

Glen Johnson of J-4 Barbecue is appealing a denial of his and his partners’ request to change the zoning of a piece of property at 1309 E. Amazon St. from single-family residential to light commercial.

City Planning Director Sammy Standefer said J-4 Barbecue partners wanted to open a restaurant that would serve from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. They currently cater.

“The council will review the (Planning and) Zoning Commission comments, and the council has basically two choices,” he said.

Standefer said the council could either accept the denial from the commission or set a time and date for a public hearing to get input and consider the matter themselves.

The commission denied the zone change by a 5-1 vote at a meeting in March.

“It was from public input,” Standefer said.

A lot of people attended the planning commission meeting, with some speaking for the zone change and some against it, Standefer said.

Opponents cited increased traffic, smoke, students from the nearby Portales High School loitering in the neighborhood more, increased trash and property devaluation as their reasons.

Also, the council will hear that Comcast Cable is exercising its option to extend a franchise agreement with the city, which allows it to maintain lines on city rights of way.

City Clerk Joan Martinez-Terry said the city has an ordinance that allows Comcast to extend the agreement for five years beyond the additional 10-year agreement if Comcast notifies the city 30 to 36 months before the end of the 10 years.

In return for the use of the right of way, Comcast will pay the city 5 percent of annual gross revenues collected within Portales during the five-year extension, according to the agreement. During the initial term, Comcast pays 4 percent of the revenue.

The agenda also includes:

• Introduction of new Information Technology Director Dennis Hales.

• A vote on change orders for Portales Senior Center kitchen improvements.

• A proclamation declaring May 3-9 as Municipal Clerks Week.