Council revives the Kerrville Main Street Program

Following a period of hiatus from the Texas Main Street program, the Kerrville City Council has resolved to restart the board and programs that aim to further the goals of the Kerrville 2050 plan with respect to the downtown area. Kerrville initially became involved with the Main Street program in the mid-1990s but took a one-year leave of absence beginning in summer 2018 “to acquaint the new leadership with the City processes and to hire new staff to take on the task of downtown revitalization.” Council voted unanimously on August 13 to reconstitute the program and appoint new Main Street Advisory board members to serve.

According to councilperson Kim Clarkson, “From my perspective… through the 2050 plan, neighborhood development and place-making, as well as focusing on the downtown revitalization would be a reason for recreation of a board like the Main Street Board. It’s re-focusing, and that’s what our citizens said they wanted to look at as an area of focus.” (Ref.: City Council Meeting, August 13, 2019.)

The seven-member board (MSAB) will be made up of property owners and business owners within the Downtown Arts & Cultural District (see map below). The city is currently accepting applications for membership on the board, which will require a two-year term of service, except for three members, chosen by chance, to serve a one-year initial term, so that the terms are staggered. To apply for membership on this board, please visit the city’s Main Street page.

The MSAB “serves in an advisory capacity to the Mayor and City Council and assists other City Boards and Commissions and City Staff to further goals and objectives of the City, including goals and objectives of the Kerrville 2050 Comprehensive Plan and other long-range plans adopted by the City; provides for the achievement of the Texas Main Street Program goals and criteria for the preservation and revitalization of the historic downtown in order to provide the necessary image for the downtown area and serves as a unifying factor to encourage area merchants and building owners to reinvest in downtown; creates positive change for downtown to ensure the success of the Main Street Program by identifying and mobilizing resources, building volunteer support, developing new leadership, and maintaining clear focus on the needs and opportunities for the downtown area.”

The Main Street program hosted the Mardi Gras on Main fundraiser from 2005 through 2016, raising funds for public arts projects such as the James Avery Mother’s Love sculpture at Main and Earl Garrett, and Lupe the Bass in Louise Hayes Park. The program also provided a voice for downtown business owners and stakeholders to participate in the overall direction and programs aimed at developing and supporting the historic downtown area. The board advised council on various matters pertaining to downtown, such as parking rules, signage, facades, walkability, and other important matters.

However, turnover in city staff leadership of the program along with other concerns, led to a temporary hiatus from the Main Street program. Council’s action this month will allow the city to remain in good standing within the state-sponsored program that aims to help communities preserve, develop, maintain, and promote their historic downtown districts.

References

P&Z rejects proposal to increase size of electronic signs

During the regularly scheduled meeting of Kerrville’s Planning & Zoning Commission on Thursday afternoon, commissioners voted unanimously to maintain the current maximum size of electronic signage at 32 square feet, and also voted to adopt new language to clarify rules for other sign types in Kerrville and the extra-territorial jurisdiction (ETJ). The proposed changes presented by the Code Review Committee suggested enlarging the maximum allowed electronic signage to 64 square feet for businesses with certain road frontage. However, the commissioners voted unanimously to maintain the current 32 square foot maximum after hearing from over a dozen community members that spoke out against the proposed enlargement.

Approximately 16 citizens, businesspersons, and community representatives addressed the commission with their thoughts on electronic signage in general and the proposed rule changes specifically. All but two persons spoke against enlarging the allowed size of electronic signs. Two individuals spoke in support of the proposed rule changes to allow the larger signs — Walt Koenig of the Kerrville Area Chamber of Commerce and Cory Traub of Pro Tech Signs & Graphixx.

After listening to the public comments, commissioners proposed several changes to the proposed ordinance that will now be submitted to the City Council for consideration and discussion. Changes included maintaining the maximum electronic signage at 32 square feet, maintaining the current duration of electronic messages at four seconds, and also some other minor changes to language regarding awning signs. The council will oversee a three-step process including a public hearing and two readings of the proposed changes to the ordinance. Community members will have a chance to speak again when council considers the ordinance presented to them by the P&Z.

Electronic signs have been the topic of much debate in Kerrville in recent months. Several businesses and organizations had submitted variance requests for larger electronic signs or other types of signage that was not in compliance with the current statutes. The topic was a point of discussion leading up to May’s city council elections. The Code Review Committee, an ad hoc city commission made up of approximately 15 citizens, had worked on changes to the Zoning Code, Sign Ordinance, and other matters, from October 2018 through July 2019.

References

Written by Aaron Yates of Kerrville United

Council approves Arcadia Theater funds

Kerrville City Council approved two funding agreements for the renovation of the Arcadia Theater on Tuesday night, moving the ball forward on a $2.3 million effort led by the nonprofit Kerrville’s 4th on the River (KFOR). The group applied for and received a $600,000 grant from the EIC (Economic Improvement Corporation 4B salex tax monies) along with $400,000 of HOT funds (Hotel Occupancy Tax). The group will raise approximately $1.3 million in private contributions to fully fund the project.

The $600k in 4b funds were approved by EIC last week, but council had to give its blessing for the grant to become “official.”

The KFOR nonprofit group plans to open the theater by July 3, 2020.

A short presentation was made to council and some of those slides are presented below.

Grant money will be used to repair damaged reuse lines

The October 2018 flooding damaged the water reuse lines at the Loop 534 crossing over the Guadalupe River. The aerial utility pipe bridge was constructed earlier in 2018, and the flood event brought massive amounts of debris downstream that washed out the pipes. Since that time, a temporary reuse line was installed to serve the customers across the Guadalupe.

Damaged aerial pipe crossing on the Guadalupe River near Loop 534 (Courtesy: City of Kerrville)

On Tuesday, the City announced that the Texas Water Development Board (TWDB) approved a $1 million disaster recovery grant to finance the planning, acquisition, design, and construction costs associated with the damages.

“The City of Kerrville is very fortunate to be able to take advantage of this TWDB Disaster Recovery Program, which has helped make this a real lemons-to-lemonade type situation. The city intends to leverage these grant dollars to redesign and relocate this water and wastewater infrastructure to the Loop 534 bridge.”

Deputy City Manager E.A. Hoppe, via a statement from City Hall

The TWDB is the state agency charged with collecting and disseminating water-related data, assisting with regional planning, and preparing the state water plan for the development of the state’s water resources.

The damaged pipes had already been removed at the city’s expense while options were investigated for funding.

Council to consider Arcadia funding agreements

The next regularly scheduled Kerrville City Council meeting will take place on Tuesday evening at 6 PM in council chambers at City Hall. During this meeting, council will consider two funding agreements to partially fund the renovations at the Arcadia Theater on Water Street in downtown Kerrville.

The first agreement to consider is a funding agreement between the EIC and Kerrville’s 4th on the River (the nonprofit that seeks to renovate and operate the theater). The Economic Improvement Corporation (EIC) approved this agreement unanimously during its latest meeting on June 17. The agreement provides $600,000 in funding for the project based on certain milestones and requirements set forth in the contract.

The second funding agreement is between the City of Kerrville and Kerrville’s 4th on the River, and would provide $400,000 in HOT funds (Hotel Occupancy Tax funds) for the renovation of the theater. The language of this agreement is still being finalized by City Attorney Mike Hayes, and is not available for public viewing at this time.

In addition to these two funding agreements, council will also address these items:

  • An ordinance to prohibit truck traffic on Riverhill Boulevard
  • An ordinance to amend the Alcoholic Beverage Code
  • A resolution supporting Kerrville as a certified “Music Friendly Community”
  • Waiver of fees for the 2019 Chalk Festival
  • Extend the term of the Charter Review Commission
  • A Planned Development District (PDD) for “The Landing” along Thompson Drive
  • Contract for reconstruction of Hill Country Drive for $162k
  • Appointment to Planning & Zoning Commission

This meeting is open to the public and can be viewed on the city’s live streaming site here: http://player.frontlayer.com/live/fl518492

References

Agenda Packet for June 25, 2019

EIC grants $600k to Arcadia Theater project

Photo of the Arcadia Theater in 2013.

The Economic Improvement Corporation (EIC) on Tuesday convened its first regular meeting since being reconstituted with three new members: Greg Richards, Danny Almond, and Aaron Yates. The main order of business on Tuesday was to hold a public hearing for a potential funding agreement between Kerrville’s Fourth on the River (the non-profit that owns the Arcadia Theater) and the EIC.

Following the public hearing and executive session, the EIC approved the funding agreement unanimously. The contract must now be approved by City Council in order for the funding to move forward.

In the proposed agreement, the EIC will provide $600,000 to the nonprofit to go towards the $2.3 million renovation budget. Kerrville’s 4th on the River intends to use the property for live music and other performances and events. As part of the agreement, the nonprofit must meet specific performance measures, such as a specific number of public shows during the first three years. The entire agreement is being finalized and will be made public in the City Council agenda packet for their June 25 meeting.

The $600,000 provided by the EIC does not cover the entire renovation budget. As mentioned, the entire renovation budget is approximately $2.3 million. In addition to the $600,000 EIC contribution, the nonprofit will also request $400,000 in HOT funds (Hotel Occupancy Tax funds) which must be approved by City Council. The remaining $1.3 million will be raised through private philanthropy and donations.

Funding Sources

  • $600,000 from EIC (4b Sales Tax)
  • $400,000 from HOT funds (Hotel Occupancy Tax)
  • $1.3 million from private philanthropy and donations

Takeaways

  • EIC will contribute $600,000 in grants to the Arcadia project
  • The nonprofit that owns the Arcadia must meet certain milestones and performance requirements to “earn” the funding
  • Kerrville’s 4th on the River will seek an additional $400,000 in HOT funds
  • The entire renovation budget is $2.3 million, the remainder of which will be funded by private donations

Full Meeting Video

Multiple arrests made following undercover operation

Early Tuesday morning, residents in the Ingram area were awakened by the sounds of helicopters swirling overhead. Ingram Police Department issued a statement that the helicopters were part of a law enforcement operation. And at 11:15 AM, the Kerr County Sheriff issues a press release announcing the results of the morning’s activities.

Eleven arrests were made at the conclusion of an undercover narcotics operation that uncovered a methamphetamine distribution ring in Ingram and Kerr County. Several law enforcement agencies participated in the sting, including Ingram PD, Kerrville PD, DPS, US Marshalls, local constables, Attorney General’s Office, Homeland Security, and New Braunfel’s PD. The eleven arrests were for delivery of controlled substances and delivery of marijuana.

The press release is pictured below.

Today: Public hearing for Charter Review

The City of Kerrville’s Charter Review Commission will hold a public hearing today (Tuesday) at 4:00 PM at City Hall. The public is invited to attend and to view a presentation on the proposed charter amendments. After the presentation, the public may comment and provide feedback on the proposals. Individual committee members and the commission as a whole invites the public to attend, listen, and take part in the discussion.

Agenda for today’s Charter Review Commission meeting.

What is the Charter?

Under Texas state law, any city with a population of 5,000 or more may elect to operate under a “charter,” which is a document that defines the methods and means of governance in a city. You can think of it as the city’s constitution, of sorts.

Beginning in 1913, Texas requires charter cities to maintain their governing document and amendments with the Secretary of State. You can see Kerrville’s and other city’s charters at the Texas State Library of Archives, or for Kerrville, on the city’s municode website.

Our charter includes lots of important provisions, such as the municipal city limits boundaries, the process for annexation, rules for electing and serving on city council, procedural rules, recall provisions, administrative rules, and much more. The charter is one of the most important documents that sets forth how our city works.

According to City Attorney Mike Hayes:

A guiding principle in the creation and continuing foundation of this great country is democracy, and local self-government is a key component of democracy

–Mike Hayes, January 2019, Kerrville Daily Times

Amending the Charter

Our charter has a provision to amend the charter every so often. Section 14.07 sets forth the requirement that our charter be reviewed every five years, or more. The council shall appoint a Charter Review Commission that includes seven residents of the city, and the group will propose recommendations and amendments, and then present those to the City Council.

Once the proposed amendments are approved by council, they go to the citizens for a vote. The last time we had a charter amendment vote was in 2014, when voters considered eight amendments. Those amendments passed with overwhelming margins. But council actually rejected three proposed amendments from the commission which would have lessened the requirements for a recall election initiative. Those three did not appear on the ballot.

Should the council approve any recommendations this year, the amendments would likely be on the ballot for the November 2019 election.

The Commission

This Charter Review Commission was established in November 2018, and includes the following members:

  • Brenda Craig
  • Stephen Fine
  • John Harrison, Chairman
  • Peggy McKay
  • Greg Richards
  • Michael Sigerman
  • Michelle Yanez

More information about the commission, including its agendas and minutes, can be found here: https://www.kerrvilletx.gov/1672/Charter-Review-Commission

The Meeting

Let us hear your voice through one or more of the opportunities mentioned above. The future of our city depends on it.

–City Manager Mark McDaniel, April 12, 2019, Kerrville Daily Times

Today’s meeting at 4 PM is open to the public and will be held in Council Chambers at City Hall. Kerrville United urges all interested citizens to take part. As the Kerrville 2050 Plan states, this is “Your Voice, Your City.”

Council appoints new members to EIC

At the end of the regular meeting of the Kerrville City Council on Tuesday, May 28, the council adjourned into executive session, which is a closed portion of the meeting that is allowed for certain types of deliberations. Upon returning to regular session, the council appointed members to the Economic Improvement Corporation, or EIC, the city board responsible for overseeing the 4B sales tax revenues that are collected on all taxable purchases made within the city limits.

Kent McKinney was appointed to serve a second two-year term on EIC, and new members Danny Almond, Greg Richards, and Aaron Yates were appointed to their first two-year term on the board. Notably, the council chose not to appoint a council member to the EIC, although there has been a council member as part of this board for the past several years.

These new members will take their place on the EIC at the next regular meeting on Monday, June 17. The EIC meets every third Monday at 4:00 PM in City Council chambers.

The EIC has supported several notable projects in recent years, including the River Trail, the Sports Complex, the HEB Tennis Center, and numerous others. The board considers projects that support economic development for the City of Kerrville.

Author’s Note

Your author, Aaron Yates, is one of the members appointed to the EIC on Tuesday evening. I am truly humbled and honored to have the opportunity to serve our city by sitting on this very important board. I look forward to working with board president Kenneth Early, the other board members, and city staff to consider projects that will improve the lives of our neighbors and friends in Kerrville.

When I was interviewed for this position, I told council members that one thing that I pledge to do as an EIC board member is work to improve “public relations” between the board and the residents of Kerrville. Using Kerrville United as my platform, I plan to post regular updates about the projects that the EIC considers, and take your questions as those projects make their way through the process that includes city staff, EIC members, and city council.

I look forward to sharing my experiences with you in future postings.

Authored by Aaron Yates, founder of Kerrville United

Council Agenda for May 28, 2019

The Kerrville City Council will convene after Memorial Day on Tuesday, May 28, 2019, at 6 PM in council chambers at City Hall. A busy agenda will be waiting for council as the newest members participate in their second full meeting following the May 4 election. Here’s a look at some of the items on the agenda for Tuesday night.

HEB Conditional Use Permits

The new grocery store that is planned next to the existing HEB grocery on Highway 27 will need a couple of Conditional Use Permits (or CUPs) to facilitate their overall plan. The first is a CUP near the west end of the property so that a gas station, car wash, and convenience store can be constructed. The second is a CUP for a parking lot on the northeast corner of Jefferson and Hayes Streets.

CUPs to be considered at Tuesday’s meeting.
Site plan for proposed HEB grocery store and gas station.

Public hearings for each of these CUPs will be held on Tuesday night.

Amending Alcoholic Beverage Code

Council will vote on the first reading of an ordinance to amend and clarify the rules regarding the regulation of sales of alcoholic beverages. Under this proposed ordinance, sales of alcohol would be prohibited in all residential zones, prohibit sales within 300 feet of a church, school, or hospital, and would provide for a variance request process. This ordinance also establishes the city’s fees for opening an alcohol sales location at 1/2 of the TABC license fee.

Depth of Field Photo of Two Pilsner Glasses

These rules are already in place, for the most part, but this ordinance will clarify and extend the rules to cover these additional stipulations regarding churches, schools, hospitals, and residential neighborhoods. The City of Kerrville has regulated alcohol sales since 1933.

Annexation for KISD’s new Peterson Middle School campus

The second and final reading of an ordinance to annex approximately 35 acres along Loop 534 will be held. Assuming it passes successfully, this will officially annex the property that is planned to be used for the new Peterson Middle School campus across from Tivy High School, and along the proposed extension of Olympic Drive.

35 acres to be considered for annexation for KISD’s Peterson Middle School.

At the first reading of this annexation ordinance on May 14, Mayor Bill Blackburn cast the lone “no” vote, but the first reading passed 4-1. Mayor Blackburn noted that he was voting against the annexation because the city had not received a traffic study or impact study to show how the traffic will be affected. Drew Paxton noted that the traffic study was still being completed, and Deputy City Manager EA Hoppe said the study would be complete in June.

As part of the packet of information for this second reading of the ordinance, a letter from KISD Superintendent Dr. Mark Foust is attached, and he shares excerpts of a traffic report that the district commissioned. The excerpt notes that approximately 50% of the students at the new Peterson Middle School will be bused, and 50% will be dropped off by a parent or relative. Approximately 1/3 (~300 students) would use the new Olympic Drive extension.

Appointments to EIC

Council will appoint or re-appoint members to the Economic Improvement Corporation (or EIC). The EIC is responsible for the 4B Sales Tax revenue that is collected for economic development. A total of approximately $3 million per year is collected and distributed for various projects supporting economic development, including quality of life projects such as the River Trail and Sports Complex, among others.

Four members’ terms expire on June 1, including Gary Cooper, Kent McKinney, Robert Naman, and Delayne Sigerman (City Councilperson Place 4). All are eligible for reappointment, as the board members serve two-year terms with a maximum of two consecutive terms.

This item is eligible for executive session, meaning council could adjourn to private quarters to discuss the applications and appointments.

Where to Watch

The city council meeting can be watched live at the City of Kerrville’s live streaming page below.

http://player.frontlayer.com/live/fl518492

References

Full Agenda Packet