Editor's note: A previous version of this story reported an incorrect decision on a rezone request at a property on Bill Owens. This version has been corrected.
New life might be coming to the old Reo Palm Isle, this time as a skating rink and arcade.
The Longview Planning and Zoning Commission recommended rezoning and permitting for the change at its regular monthly meeting Tuesday.
Commissioners also OK’d two residential plans despite traffic concerns.
John Allen with Allen 78 Investment Group LLC operates a skating rink in Gilmer and said he wants to expand that idea into Longview with a roller rink and arcade at the Reo Palm Isle.
The commission approved a rezone from agricultural to heavy commercial zoning for the site to become a rink and also approved a special use permit to allow for an arcade.
Both items would require final approval from the City Council at a later date.
The building first opened in 1935 amid the early heights of the East Texas oil boom. The list of legendary musicians and bands to have performed there, according to the Texas State Historical Association, included Glenn Miller, Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong, Elvis Presley, Ronnie Milsap, Loretta Lynn, Alabama, Mickey Gilley and dozens of others.
In latter years, several variations of nightclubs have tried to resurrect the site. Most recently, Shirley Bates Bush held weekly family entertainment led by her jam session Hayloft Saturday Night.
Despite those uses, the property has been zoned agricultural ever since it was annexed into the city in 2009, City Planner Angela Choy said.
In other matters, the commission approved rezoning 1.377 acres of land on Graystone Road from agriculture to single family. The applicant, Larry Hitt, wants to build a four-lot subdivision of spec homes, with each having its own driveway access to Graystone.
Despite the unanimous approval, at least one commissioner said Graystone Road is too thin and narrow for the amount of traffic it already supports.
“That road has got to have something done to it at some point, if we find the means to do it,” Commissioner Ronnie Rice said, “because it is not just a simple collector road. It is an autobahn many days.”
Traffic also was a concern for commissioners for a 1.635-acre property at Bill Owens Parkway and Ben Hogan Drive, where one single family home would be built, applicant Casey Cockrell said.
Two neighbors who opposed Cockrell’s rezone request spoke to the Planning and Zoning Commission, both with concerns about safety. One of the men, Dave Harbor, said he also was concerned about his property being devalued if a house was built there, thereby blocking his home’s view of the neighboring golf course.
The commission voted to table the request amid concerns about safety and deed restrictions on surrounding property.