by Marianne Gasaway
A public hearing has been set for 6 p.m. Monday, Feb. 1, for the City Council to consider a rezoning request for the former Sunset Elementary School property at 408 Mars Hill Dr.
The owner, Dolly James LLC, has requested the property be re-zoned to RS-8 (Medium-Density Single-Family Residential. The change would facilitate the return of the school as an educational center in the fall.
Earlier this month Clear Lake Classical (CLC), a private Christian School currently housed at the Evangelical Free Church on Highway 18, announced plans to lease the school from Dolly James LLC to expand its operation this fall. Dr. Cory Gerdts, headmaster of the school, explained enrollment has grown to 100 students pre-kindergarten through grade 10. The school intends to add a grade each of the next two years.
The school has been renting space from the Clear Lake E-Free church and plans to continue that even as it expands into the former Sunset School, which it has named its Mars Hill campus.
Clear Lake City Administrator Scott Flory explained the first step in the process is for the City Council to refer the matter to the Planning and Zoning Commission for review and recommendation. A meeting date has not been set by the P&Z, however, it typically meets the last Tuesday of the month, meaning Jan. 26 would tentatively be the next meeting to consider the rezoning request. The P&Z recommendation would be considered at the Feb. 1 Council meeting.
Notice of the public hearing will be published in the Jan. 20 Mirror-Reporter and adjacent property owners will receive notice of the Feb. 1 public hearing on Jan. 22.
Flory noted the area west of the former Sunset School is zoned RS-8 and the area east of it is zoned RM-12 (Medium Density Multi-Family Residential).
The favorable interest rate environment has prompted the City of Clear Lake to refinance General Obligation Economic Development Bonds issued in 2014 in connection with McKesson locating in Clear Lake.
City Administrator Scott Flory explained that the City previously issued $1,620,000 in the bonds March 31, 2014. The City reserved the right to prepay the outstanding balance on June 1, 2019 or any date thereafter. Flory said that based on the positive, preliminary feedback from community banks and the favorable interest environment, proceeding with the refunding at this time makes good sense.
The estimated savings available to the City is approximately $19,000.