Blanco County News
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Council, P&Z, Historic Preservation Hold Workshop
Wednesday, July 20, 2011 • Posted July 21, 2011

With design guidelines, a revised signage ordinance, and a new lighting ordinance on the trail to come before Blanco City Council, the Blanco Historic Preservation Commission held a workshop on Monday evening to help council and commissioners review the Blanco Historic Preservation Action Plan and the issues coming up for votes.

In attendance were Mayor Chuck Homan, council members Maria Guerrero, Danny Ray, Al Turner, and Rebecca Howerton, Planning & Zoning Commissioners Tony Vela, Courtney Curbow, Matt Lewis, and Connie Barron, and Historic Preservation commissioners Retta Martin, Amy Petri, Rudy Nino, and Charles Willgren. In the audience were over 15 members of the community.

Find Out More...

  • Blanco Historic Preservation Action Plan. This document lists priorities identified by citizens. Read the action plan online:
  • Blanco Design Guidelines. Looking at the architecture of Blanco, Sue Ann Pemberton with Main Street Architects has identified what makes Blanco look like Blanco. The document will be used as a guideline for renovation and new construction involving historic properties. The guidelines would apply in the historic district. See the latest draft:
  • Signage Ordinance. The Planning & Zoning Commission is reviewing changes to the signage ordinance. The commission will hold a public hearing when a revision has been selected and, after that, it will be sent to the council for voting. See the two options under review:
  • Night Skies. Wayne Gosnell made a presentation on Blanco’s night skies. See the presentation:

John Lasserre with the Texas Historical Commission reviewed the Blanco Historic Preservation Action Plan and the steps that led to its creation during nine months of Visionaries in Preservation meetings. During those meetings in 2007, 60 citizens met to identify and prioritize issues they saw in the community.

The action plan includes items such as preservation and zoning, preserving the night sky, signage standards, design standards, burying utilities in the square, incentives, and more.

Lasserre led those meetings at Gem of the Hills. At that time, he mentioned that it was up to the citizens of Blanco to decide on how the city would grow and change. He encouraged the council, commissions, and citizens to revisit the plan and re-prioritize as needed.

Becky Greathouse then spoke about the Blanco Design Guidelines draft, which is set to be completed within weeks. The guidelines illustrate the construction styles used in the downtown historic district and in the city as a whole. The guidelines will not be mandatory, Greathouse explained, but can be used when remodeling or adding an addition to an historic property. The guidelines will also be used by the Historic Preservation Commission when reviewing applications for Certificates of Appropriateness for changes to buildings in the historic district.

Planning & Zoning Commission member Connie Barron spoke about the new signage ordinance and the two drafts before the commission. One, based on Dripping Springs’ ordinance and changed to reflect the signage of Blanco, was created by P&Z members. The other is based on the current signage ordinance and updated by code enforcement officer Pete McKinney.

Wayne Gosnell made a presentation on Blanco’s night skies, covering the types of light pollution, how best to solve the problem, and how Blanco can use the night skies as a means of attracting income to the city. Like the Blanco River, Gosnell said, the dark skies are a natural resource.

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