Council stalled on sign changes

Oct. 28, 2013 @ 09:37 PM

Off-premises advertising rules drew plenty of questions from the Henderson City Council Monday evening, causing a public hearing to be continued into December.

To be decided, among other things, were the sign size and type, duration of posting, any uniform limitations and authority on the decisions.

In four public hearings held during the meeting, not a single citizen voiced a comment. The council unanimously endorsed three other proposed ordinance changes following public hearings on each, including one related to the blight in the extra-territorial jurisdiction.

Eris Dunston, the city’s planning director, said amending advertisement rules would solve a relatively small glitch to allow acknowledgment of private company partners in city projects.

“We could recognize them as a donor,” Dunston said. “It has to be a government program that is open for everyone to participate.”

Many questions came, all from the City Council.

In answer to a question on how signs would be approved and if there can be assurances that the process would be fair, Dunston said the signs would be approved by the city organization that sponsored the program or project in partnership with the helping businesses.

“There needs to be some limitations,” Councilman Garry Daeke said. “I am not big on more advertisements.”

Councilwoman Sara Coffey asked how and by whom the signs would be made.

Another question focused on how long the signs would remain in place, if there would be any sort of limit on that duration. There were no set policies on duration or sizes, and no information available on possible sign makers.

Ray Griffin, the city manager, interjected in the stream of questions and answers to suggest that the public hearing be continued so that the Henderson Planning Board could conduct a meeting focused on answering the council questions.

The council would review the planning board’s responses at the Nov. 26 work session. The public hearing would resume Dec. 9, according to Griffin.

None of the council members voiced objection to the continuation.

• The council endorsed an ordinance providing limited enforcement in the extra-territorial jurisdiction, or ETJ, county land attached to Henderson’s city limits. Griffin said the area’s blight concerns have fallen between the cracks.

“Of course, if we were to receive a grant fund the whole situation would change,” Griffin said.

• Also approved was an ordinance that limited certain facade requirements so it would apply only to new construction, facade improvement or modifications. Dunston explained that the changes are small, adding clarity to the first portion of the existing ordinance.

• Also passed without dissent was an ordinance changing the zoning designation for nine properties on Oak Street and Cypress Drive that Dunston said are of a smaller lot size, high population density type. The properties were given the wrong zoning designation.

Dunston explained that the designation given of R-15 refers to lot sizes of 15,000 square feet minimum, but the properties average a smaller 8,000 square-foot size appropriate for the R-8 designation.

There are different rules about how far buildings need to be placed from property margins, and that impacts how home improvements can be added on, such as ramps, porches and decks, in a manner that adheres to city code restrictions.

The Henderson Planning Board gave its formal recommendations in favor of the ordinances.

Contact the writer at mfisher@hendersondispatch.com.