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2017-06-15

Definition in the details

By Bev Barr BCC Editor

The Planning and Zoning Commission spent about an hour and a half studying and discussing a color-coded map spread out across the boardroom table at their meeting Tuesday night. The map identifies property lots that are under consideration for a Special Use District (SUD), or that have already been designated as such. The city manager, Linda Coones, prepared the map as a tool for planning, and to be able to see more clearly the layers of things (including the harsh reality of floods) that make upgrading code ordinances confusing and tedious.
On the map, properties that no one seems to know who owns (including the County Appraisal District) are identified by one color of highlighter, while city-owned lots are identified with another color, uninhabited property with another color, and so on.
The primary reason for the lengthy discussion (and the map) is that the details pertaining to a Special Use District have never been defined in Chapter 14 of the Code of Ordinances, and that needs to be fixed. The P&Z Commission is tasked with the responsibility of defining the parameters of the code and to do so within the scope and vision of the comprehensive master plan.
Recently, a temporary permit was issued as a staging area for horses on property designated for “special use,” so the demand on the city to clarify and define this code is imminent for practical, functional reasons. After a purposeful and preliminary discussion about possible restrictions and criteria for SUD, the commissioners agreed to do homework on the subject and put the topic back on the agenda for discussion and possible action (definition) in 30 days.
In other matters, the commission discussed at length how to move forward with handling sign violations on two properties and they will make their recommendations to the city council. The ordinances specific to digital signs and signs with changing content need to be clarified and amended, and the commissioners are studying a generic sign ordinance for ideas on wording that will be accurate, consistent and conform to Bandera’s comprehensive master plan.
As for the latest Skateboard Park news, Coones said that they are still waiting for the results of a soil compaction test that was taken in early May. They have removed the rebar, plastic and frame because it will not comply with the engineer’s requirements for a foundation as is. Coones said there were complaints about visibility around that corner because of the bamboo, and so she had the bamboo cut back and cleared from the right-of-way. When they did that, they discovered the drainage ditches were “full” of fill, buried by the bamboo for a long time. Those ditches are being dug out, which will improve drainage, another priority.