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Flashboards Come Down, Council Tables Alderman Appointment
Wednesday, October 17, 2012 • Posted October 19, 2012

City Council, short two aldermen, met in regular session on Monday, October 15. Alderwoman Sherry Simpson was absent due to a month long trip to Africa to see her daughter, and former Alderman JR Decker’s seat is still vacant, pending appointment by the Council.

Council has received letters from three candidates, Dustin McLeod, Gail Lang, and Richard Staley, all seeking to fill the vacant seat. McLeod and Lang were present Monday, and each expressed their desire to serve the community in the capacity of Alderman.

Stan Venable reiterated previous comments he made at the October 1 council meeting, in favor of Dustin McLeod.

Following discussion, Alderwoman Jeanne Puryear moved to table the item until the next regular meeting, when Alderwoman Sherry Simpson would be back and Council could deliberate with a full panel. The motion was seconded by Mayor Pro-Tem Mike Hazel and passed 2-1 in favor of tabling. Alderwoman Kelli Tudyk, who cast the dissenting vote, stated that she had concerns that, without moving forward on the appointment, the Council would be unable to do business.

An amendment to Ordinance No. 735 was considered, which would allow for the creation of an overlay district in the Single Family Zoning District, defining specific uses and providing for the repeal of all ordinances that conflict with the amendment. The zone is located on Ford Street, and was specifically requested for 1807 Ford Street, which is currently a residential property, but is being considered for purchase by a dentist, Dr. Kim Murray, for use as dental office.

The process for the amendment began in June of this year, when a meeting of the property owner’s was held on June 28; a second meeting was held on August 27 with property owners, plus those that live within 300 feet of the proposed overlay district.

According to minutes from the June 28 meeting, Jeff Hopf and Ella Day Flowers spoke in favor the proposal, as did Sam Oatman, with the condition that more specific definitions were included. Ben Wallis spoke against the proposal.

At the second meeting, property owners Charles Slocumb, Judy Brooks, and Diane Oatman expressed opposition to the proposal.

Following the two meetings, City Manager Finley deGraffenried sent a proposed ordinance to all property owners, as well as a notice of Planning and Zoning Commission Public Hearing on September 24.

The P&Z voted to recommend the proposed ordinance to City Council, with one dissenting vote, cast by Marc Sewell.

Sewell was in attendance at the Council meeting and spoke regarding his position on the situation as a P&Z member. He contends that the ordinance creates spot zoning, which is illegal. The criteria for spot zoning are that it only benefits one property owner, use is different than surrounding area, not in accordance with municipality land use strategy, and has no substantial benefit to the surrounding area.

Proponents of the ordinance say that the overlay district would create specifications as to the use of property along Ford Street, and remove the ambiguity from the currently allowed special uses. Allowed uses in the current SF-1 District include churches, libraries, private school or park, trade or business schools; permitted specific uses include child or day care centers, engineering offices, insurance offices, florist, cemetery, and private stables. (This is not a complete list.)

The amendment would allow the addition of a dental, medical or attorney office within the zone in question, with the requirement to maintain a façade as residential or consistent with adjacent uses.

Comments from the public were heard from Ben Wallis and Judy Brooks, who both have lived on Ford Street the majority of their lives, and who have a long history in the community. Both believe that the passing of the ordinance and subsequent dental office would be a detriment to the aesthetics and beauty of the Ford Street residential district.

Kim Murray spoke as well, stating that she had a vested interest in maintaining the integrity of Llano, and said that she planned to preserve the aesthetics, should she be allowed to move her office to the 1807 Ford Street location.

Following discussion, Alderwoman Tudyk made a motion to table the amendment until such a time as a full council could consider action. Mayor Pro-Tem Mike Hazel seconded the motion, and the matter was tabled until a later date.

City Secretary Toni Milam informed Council that tabling may require the City to begin the process over from the beginning before it could be considered again.

Council approved an ordinance to amend the Code of Ordinances Chapter 102, Article II, Sewer and Electric Tap Charges, to raise tap charges as directed by the Council in the City’s FY2013 budget.

Rates for renting the Ray House and other camping fees were also raised in accordance with the FY 2013 budget. Renting the Ray House will now cost $85 up from the previous rate of $75.

Ordinance 1230 was also approved, which amends the Code of Ordinances relating to water rates for services provided by the City. The FY2013 budgeted revenue for water is $956,533, based on water sales of 200,000,000 gallons.

The Ordinance eliminates all but three tiers of rates within the water charges system, effectively raising the rates to $2.00 per 1,000 for every gallon for use between 3,000-12,000; $3.50 per 1,000 gallons for use between 12,000-50,000; and $5.00 per 1,000 gallons for usage over 50,000 gallons per month.

The result for customers using 8,000 gallons of water per month will be an increase from $30.30 per month to $33.50 per month.

There will also be $1 added to each customer’s bill, which will be put in the Council Restricted Sinking Fund.

Tally Kelso, Fred Smith and Stan Venable were appointed to the LEDC. Council also approved the sale in exchange for services by the LEDC for a portion of the 88 acres. 35 acres will be conveyed in exchange for paving the parking lot of the rodeo arena.

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