With the proposed modified signage ordinance on hold until after the May 14 election, businesses are still seeking variances for signs which might not be in compliance once the ordinance is approved. At the council’s April 12 meeting, council member Bobby McClung questioned Code Compliance Officer Pete McKinney as to why the sign at the new Stripes store south of town was grandfathered and did not need to meet current signage guidelines. According to McKinney, changing the name on the sign did not qualify as an alteration. McClung responded, "That was an opportunity to bring the sign into compliance. We should look at changing the grandfathering clause."
McKinney’s response was, "That’s something we need to discuss with your sign people."
Variances for two other businesses were recommended to city council by the Planning and Zoning Commission. McKinney recommended against granting a variance to the Three Peas in a Pod business because of the proximity of the sign mount to the street. However, P&Z granted the variance because the sign mount has been there a long time, according to commissioner Tony Vela. Council approved that variance, as well as one for Shawna Lynn McFadden Photography on the square.
Council also approved renewal of McKinney’s contract with the city, with the request that he submit a monthly report on his activities to council. Council member Al Turner wondered if McKinney could e-mail the city whenever he sends a letter to a resident or business which is out of compliance. Council was informed that the city gets a copy of any letter that is sent. No actual citations have been issued.
Mayor Chuck Homan reported on the status of the Cielo Springs auxiliary pressure tank, which has been a point of contention between property owners and developer Col. Roper. Public Works Director Nathan Cantrell reported that all the trenching and digging has been done, all parts have arrived, and that as soon as a fitting which had to be re-ordered arrives, "We’ll get after it. An update will be provided at the May council meeting."
Blanco Chamber of Commerce president Liz Waller-Broyal reported that $19k in HOT money has been committed for advertising to entities in the San Antonio, Dallas/Fort Worth, and Garner State Park areas. A ribbon-cutting was to be held at the Lavender Loft Retreat on RR32 April 14. Other upcoming events included a Meet the Candidates gathering at the chamber on April 16. Waller-Broyal reminded those in attendance of the Blanco Classic Car Show and the Real Ale Ride, both scheduled for May 21. Blanco activities can also be accessed through UTube.
Retta Martin reported for the Blanco Historical Commission and Streetscape project that the final Design Guidelines meeting will be held April 25 at 6 p.m. at the Byars Building. Funds are still being raised for the Streetscape program. Martin attended a Texas Historical Commission Conference in Austin recently, where she took workshops on granting incentives to homeowners in Historic Districts, Historic Preservation on a Budget, and putting old home movies on DVDs. She reported for Keep Blanco Beautiful that the recent Trash-Off had 70 to 80 participants.
Police Chief Milton Willmann reported that three indictments for felony crimes went to the grand jury last week. A confession was secured from a Blanco resident who killed a dealer of illegal substances in Kendall County. A number of accidents occurred in March due to a failure to yield the right-of-way.
"Folks are in a big hurry," said Willmann. "Accidents can occur when drivers use the center turn lane as an on-ramp," he said.
"We’re staying pretty busy," he continued, adding that a couple of vehicles are down.
Officer Tammy Ross was to return to active duty April 14.
Council members approved a policy for use of Bindseil Park, developed by city attorney Eddy Rogers, which will provide more rules for large groups using the park. One provision prohibits anyone using the park from charging individuals to sublet space.
"We don’t want them making money off our park," said the mayor. Another provision states, "Any person making an appointment will be liable for damages."
Small groups picnicking do not need to make a reservation, explained the mayor. The main reason for making reservations is to insure that groups are assured of use of the park when they need it.
Finally, council members adopted an ordinance changing employee retirement benefits to a service length of 20 years, regardless of employee age. The rationale is to encourage employee longevity among younger employees.