The Waxahachie Planning and Zoning Commission approved an amendment to the city’s exterior construction and design requirements zoning ordinance Wednesday.

The new ordinance changes the city’s requirement for masonry (materials to include hard fired brick, stone, decorative concrete block, concrete pre-cast or tilt-wall panels, stucco, and to a certain extent glass blocks or tiles) exteriors to 75 percent of a structure’s exterior, down from the current 80 percent.

According to the ordinance, cementitious fiber board (such as Hardi-board) does not qualify as masonry.

The amendment “raises the standard, raises the bar for development in the city,” Assistant City Manager Michael Scott said. “I think that staff is actually very excited about what this ordinance allows us to do.”

Scott explained that the amendment would allow developers to seek alternative means of compliance with the ordinance, including through rigorous design and architectural requirements that will have to be represented on a minimum of four elevations, with some types of construction to require six facade drawings.

Additionally, the ordinance mandates that no design will be repeated in a subdivision closer within six lots of a particular facade.

After lengthy discussion, the commission approved recommending to the city council that it also approve the ordinance. The council will consider it at its next meeting, set for 7 p.m. June 4.

The commission also considered a site plan request by Duncan McCormick for a single story retail-office building to be built at the corner of U.S. Highway 77 and Indian Drive, a 9,200 square foot building that would be constructed on the former site of an Owen’s Restaurant.

This request met with opposition from commissioners, including Bonney Ramsey, who said the developer had not met the commission’s stated desires for a more “eye-appealing” building. McCormick acknowledged that the building’s elevations were the same as they were during their first consideration, explaining that “the way we read the ordinance, they are not required.”

However, after it became apparent that a majority of commissioners were displeased with the building’s appearance, McCormick proposed a number of changes so as to secure approval, noting that he and the company he works for is under a time crunch with the clients who had already secured lease agreements for the space.

The changes swayed the commissioners, who approved the request subject to compliance with city staff’s comments and review to ensure the changes were completed.

In other business, the commission approved:

a specific use permit for Coal City Cob Company for tanker trailer cleaning and related operations at a facility to be built at 4300 Interstate 35E. The SUP will allow Coal City Cob to clean the interiors of tanker trailers to prepare them for hauling different types of materials. All cleaning will take place inside a building designed for the cleaning of the tankers and the capture of all wastewater, which will then be pre-treated prior to being discharged into the city’s sewer system. the replatting of the Coal City Cob Company site, removing an unbuilt road from the plans and consolidating two of the Lofland Addition’s three lots into a single lot the preliminary plat of Saddle Ridge, a 75-lot, 96-acre subdivision located in the city’s extra-territorial jurisdiction on the southeast corner of the intersection of Lone Elm Road and Farm-to-Market Road 875. The subdivision will also have to be approved by the county commissioners’ court. the preliminary plat of Belle Meadows, a 39.852 acre gated community to be located on Cantrell Street (Farm-to-Market Road 1446).