Motel owners ask council to help change area

LAREDO, Texas. (KGNS) – Owners of a motel built in the 1940s struggled to sell it.

In desperation, they went to the city council to ask for help; however, council members had their own concerns.

If you’ve driven down San Bernardo, you may have seen a period sign fade away after decades of welcoming visitors.

The Evelyn Motor Inn sign once glowed with lights and was once a hot spot for tourists entering Gateway City, but no, it’s abandoned.

The owners, Antonio and Graciela Gonzales, are trying to sell the property to a bus company, but the Evelyn Motor Inn is classified as Zone B-3 and B-1. The owners would like to change it to a B-4 to allow the construction of a bus station.

They want to change the zone because they say it will complement the businesses in the area.

City of Laredo Planning and Zoning Director Orlando Navarro says every landlord has the right to request a zone change; however, city council has the final say.

Mr and Mrs Gonzales went to city council and made it clear that they could no longer take care of this hotel due to their age.

During the board meeting, Mr Gonzalez said, “We have had it for so long at our age that we cannot invest any money in it. We lost our daughter three years ago and she left three children behind nine and twins they are seven years old. This money that we receive is not for us, it is for their education. “

The Gonzales have owned the hotel for 20 years, but now the hotel is in limbo.

A conditional use permit would allow a bus terminal to be built without changing the zone, but that is not what the owners have chosen to do in the end.

The representative of the owner of the bus says that the proposed bus terminal is supposed to benefit businesses in the area.

During the public comments, Valentin Ruiz who lives in the neighborhood says he doesn’t want a bus terminal there.

Ruiz says, “This may open the door to businesses that could use odorless chemicals that could cause cancer to residents of this neighborhood.”

District Councilor Alyssa Cigarroa says she has collected signatures from people living in the area and that they are against the change of area.

Despite their pleas, council voted not to change the zoning of the old motel because many area residents were against it.

Since their request has been denied, owners can re-submit a zone change request in six months.

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