The Aledo city council denied a Taco Bell Thursday night that was proposed to be near the intersection of Farm-to-Market Road 1187 and Bailey Ranch Road in a 4-1 vote.

The Taco Bell, which was to be operated by Southern Multifoods, received opposition by several Aledo residents who spoke out against the approval at a town hall meeting on June 15.

Residents said they did not like the idea of a Taco Bell being in the “gateway” of Aledo — the first thing you see when you’re driving into the city. Others said the Taco Bell was not in line with the proposed strategic plan that has been put together by the Velocity Group.

At the town hall meeting, Fort Worth attorney representing the city of Aledo Fritz Quast said cities have a ministerial duty to approve plats when they meet all of the city’s requirements. Denial of a plat that meets all requirements can result in a lawsuit. Staff recommended approval at the June 15 meeting.

At Thursday’s city council meeting, two residents asked the city once again to deny the plat.

“I would like to join several of my fellow residents in encouraging you to vote to deny approval of the final plat of [Taco Bell] on the grounds that the proposed use of the property provides a conflict that was set forth in the city’s comprehensive land use plan,” resident Jason Pace said. “We’re standing at a crossroads and you have the opportunity to serve your constituents by making a bold decision rather than a decision out of fear or repercussions by out-of-towners who have no vested interest in the city. I trust you will represent our vision for the city.”

Marcella Olson, a Fort Worth attorney representing the applicant Southern Multifoods, said opposition by residents is not valid grounds for denying a plat.

“The preliminary plat, which included two lots, was unanimously recommended for approval by the planning and zoning commission and unanimously approved by the council. The final plat is consistent with the preliminary plat, city staff’s report reflects that,” Olson said. “The property is zoned C2 and has been for many years. We understand that the last few weeks there’s been opposition to the Taco Bell; however, the use of the property is governed by the zoning and opposition to its use is not valid ground for denying a plat.”

Aledo City Administrator Bill Funderburk said the plat complies with the city’s subdivision ordinance as well as the city’s adopted strategic plan.

Place 2 Councilmember Matt Ribitzki voting against denial of the plat.

The city council also approved a moratorium on commercial development in Aledo.

“All a moratorium does is puts a stay on a city accepting applications for commercial development for up to 180 days,” Quast said. “It gives the city time to look at its regulations. There’s very very specific procedures that have to happen — one before council, one before the planning and zoning commission — and then the council has to have two readings with a very specific period of time. The good thing is five days after you publish the notice of the first public hearing, a temporary moratorium goes into effect.”

The council unanimously approved starting the process of a moratorium. 

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