Public hearing relates to ETJ, cleaning blight

Oct. 26, 2013 @ 12:20 PM

Citizen input related to cleaning up the blight in the extra-territorial jurisdiction headlines four public hearings Monday night at the Henderson City Council meeting.

The council is slated to have the final say on a new ordinance to define zoning enforcement in ETJ neighborhoods of the county that is attached to city limits.

The Henderson Planning Board gave its formal recommendation in favor last month.

After the public hearing, the council will have the option to put rules in place. Corey Williams, the city’s code compliance director, said the regulations are needed in order to secure funding when cleaning up blight in the ETJ areas.

Efforts to deal with ETJ blight stem from April 2006 ordinances on junk cars, weeded lots and abandoned housing structures.

Ray Griffin, the city manager, said his staff has not been hearing from very many residents about the ETJ issue or other public hearing matters, so controversy is not expected during the public hearings.

“Several calls came in regarding our signs near Oak and Cypress,” Griffin said. “Once it was explained to them, they seemed to understand.”

The planning board recommended the changes last month, noting the zoning changes are part of an ongoing project to correct residential designations in the city.

The other three public hearings will consider:

• extending property code enforcement beyond city limits

• rezoning Oak Street and Cypress Drive areas

• changing rules about advertising and limiting facade requirements.

The planning board also recommended the changes to facade requirements and advertising rules.

Industrial and business-zoned properties will be impacted by the move to limit new facade requirements so they only apply to new construction, improvements or modifications.

The advertising rule changes involve implementing exemptions to rules that restrict advertisements away from business premises. They would be allowed when they are partnering with city sponsored projects that warrant the opportunity to display company support or participation.

The goal is to avoid a technicality acknowledging partnership support from area businesses because of a strict restriction against off-premises signs that would likely include company logos and names.

Griffin said that a work session following regular council business Monday night will include discussion on accepting a sought-for $1.8 million loan at 2 percent interest to fund the Elmwood Cemetery area sewer main replacement project.

Word to city administrators recently is that the loan has been approved.

According to Griffin, the project is to construct a needed interceptor line to lessen potential shortfalls in capacity, adding a main line that would run to the water reclamation facility.

“This is a gap that really needs to be addressed,” Griffin said. “It is already covered in terms of how to pay for it.”

The loan is a funding issue that was approved by city council along with the current fiscal year budget, Griffin added.

The funding of the project is part of the utility budget and does not impact general fund areas of city government.

Contact the writer at mfisher@hendersondispatch.com