Monthly Archives: September 2019

City of Kerrville responds to concerns about sign ordinance

Following the first reading of the newly proposed revisions to the Sign Ordinance, Kerrville United posted an article discussing some of the changes and reporting about the outcome of that first vote, which passed 4-1 on September 10 at the City Council meeting. As reported, council would need to vote again on the second reading for that ordinance to become law.

In the Facebook comments section of the article we posted, Mr. Cory Traub posted a number of questions and concerns that he has about the proposed new ordinance. Mr. Traub is the owner of Pro-Tech Signs & Graphixx, a company that installs signage in Kerrville. Mr. Traub’s comments are shown below.

We forwarded these comments to the City of Kerrville and asked if they’d please respond to Mr. Traub’s concerns so that we can provide answers to our readers. The City provided that response today via Facebook, and their answers have been posted below, with only the formatting being changed to make the responses more easily seen by our readership across the various platforms where they may access our content. Please see the City’s responses below.

City of Kerrville Responds to Cory Traub

CITY OF KERRVILLE: Kerrville United, thank you for the opportunity to respond to Mr. Traub’s concerns. We sincerely appreciate your reporting on the city and your efforts to cover all sides of an issue. Attached below are our responses to Mr. Traub’s observations, with Mr. Traub’s initial posts designated by bullet points:

CORY TRAUB: Wall signs can now only be internally lit if the sign is made of individual letters. This means you can no longer have a regular lighted sign with your logo on it and back light it. Wall signs must be channel letters now, not cabinets. This makes dozens of signs currently in Kerrville non-conforming, some of which are brand new.

CITY OF KERRVILLE: This was in the proposed draft that was reviewed and approved by Council on the first reading 9/10/2019. Based upon discussions with several individuals, staff will be recommending an amendment on second reading to this section, thereby allowing all types of wall signs to be internally illuminated unless otherwise restricted.

CORY TRUAB: Pole signs that are sitting on two poles instead of a single pole must be masonry. So, if your sign sits on two poles and does not have some sort of masonry around them your sign will become non-conforming.

CITY OF KERRVILLE: This in incorrect, as this section of the code was updated by the Code Review Committee to clarify the construction of freestanding/pole signs. New or updated signs will be allowed to be constructed on one or more poles, or twin masonry supports. The intent was to clarify the options sign owners have for the support structure, not to require that masonry was required if there is more than one pole.

CORY TRAUB: Banners can be no more than 80sq.ft. and must be mounted on your building or permanent structure. They cannot be mounted on poles out in front unless they are REAL ESTATE banners. Real Estate banners can be mounted on a solid piece of wood on two poles.

CITY OF KERRVILLE: This section has not changed from the previous code.

CORY TRAUB: Any permanent sign erected on school property or any other school campus or public athletic facility may not include any type of commercial message, including the name and/or logo of an establishment who is sponsoring such school’s activities or events. So, basically no more advertising on Antler Stadium’s sign.

CITY OF KERRVILLE: The portion of this section limiting commercial messages on school district signs has been recommended for removal since the 9/10/2019 Council hearing to align with previous court decisions.

• CORY TRAUB: Electronic signs must now hold the message for 8 seconds instead of 4 before changing to a new message.

CITY OF KERRVILLE: This is correct, as amended by Council, unless changed on second reading.

• CORY TRAUB: The City of Kerrville will now have 30 days to approve your sign permit, unlike the 10 days it used to be.

CITY OF KERRVILLE: This section remains unchanged from the existing sign code. The sign code does require an approval or denial of a sign permit within 30 days; however, Development Services policy will continue to maintain a standard for approval or denial of a sign permit within 10 days.

•CORY TRAUB: Finally, the size of electronic signs was 32sqft, the code review committee recommended 32sqft for the smaller signs and up to 64sqft for the larger signs. To put it in perspective 32sqft is the size of a sheet of plywood. The electronic sign at Antler Stadium is 72sqft and the electronic sign at the Chamber of Commerce is almost 80sqft. Planning and Zoning rejected the code review committee’s recommendations to allow the larger electronic signs and brought it back to 32sqft for everyone. Now….the sign at Antler Stadium was permitted and installed in 2012 before the sign ordinance was re-written and there were no size limits for electronic signs, therefore it is grandfathered in. The city cannot make them change the size of that sign but they can change how they must operate it.

CITY OF KERRVILLE: As per section 92-13 Nonconforming signs, all legal signs in existence at the time of adoption may remain in place. Any electronic display, such as Antler Stadium sign, must conform to the updated operational standards (such as length of time for each display, no motion, luminance requirements etc.), but the code does not require the size or location to be adjusted unless the sign is modified.

•CORY TRAUB: The electronic sign at the Chamber of Commerce was “accidentally permitted in error” by the city in 2018 under the ordinance that only allows 32sqft. So, before we adopt a new ordinance that still only allows businesses to have 32sqft of electronic signs shouldn’t we consider what the city is going to do about the sign at the Chamber of Commerce? I personally do not care if the new ordinance allows bigger or smaller signs nor do I want to see Kerrville covered in 80sqft electronic signs like Atlantic City or Las Vegas. My issue is that if one business is allowed 80sqft of Electronic sign than ALL Kerrville businesses should be allowed up to 80sqft of electronic sign. If not than the City must be held accountable for their “mistake” and make it right.

CITY OF KERRVILLE: The City has been very open and transparent about the permitting error regarding the Chamber sign, has taken enforcement measures, and the Chamber is still currently operating the sign at a maximum of 32 square feet. Once a new sign ordinance is adopted, a more permanent solution will be pursued.

Thank you again,
The City of Kerrville

EIC takes action on two new funding applications

At Monday’s regular meeting of Kerrville’s Economic Improvement Corporation (EIC), the board took action to move forward with two new applications for economic development funding, and approved the multi-year funding agreement with Kerr Economic Development Corporation (KEDC). The EIC voted unanimously to move forward with an agreement that would fund two projects at the KERV Municipal Airport, and also voted unanimously to proceed with a “terms sheet” for an affordable housing development.

KEDC Funding Agreement

Last month, the EIC directed staff to amend the proposed funding agreement before them to add a multiyear component to the KEDC contract. EIC provides about 2/3 of KEDC’s $213,500 budget. The KEDC operates as a nonprofit and their mission is to support and expand business entities in Kerr County — new and existing. On Monday, the EIC voted unanimously to approve the revised funding agreement, which changed the terms from one year to three years, but giving the EIC the option of appropriating (or not appropriating) monies in the second and third years of the contract. The board believes that adding a multiyear component signals to the KEDC that the EIC is committed to the long-term success of this organization and their economic development efforts.

The KEDC also presented some of their efforts over the previous month, including some specifics about a business that is considering relocating to Kerrville. This Tier 1 supplier (meaning they supply parts and services to a large manufacturer) is considering relocating to Texas from the midwest, and Kerrville is the only community in the state that they are considering. Gil Salinas of KEDC informed the EIC that this company would soon make a “site visit” to Kerrville to see what our community has to offer by way of employees, infrastructure, and building space for their operations. This particular company would add approximately 60 well-paid jobs that also include good employee benefits.

Another lead is in the pipeline, according to Walt Koenig of the Chamber of Commerce and on behalf of KEDC. This lead, code-named “Oasis,” would also add about 50 or 60 primary jobs in the manufacturing sector and would provide an economic benefit to the entire hill country. This lead is still in the works and KEDC hopes to land both of these exciting opportunities in the coming months.

Airport Projects

Members of the Airport Board presented statistics about the economic impact of the airport on the community as a whole, stating that the airport and the related jobs there have an impact of almost $40 million on the Kerrville and Kerr County area. They requested funding for two separate projects: 1.) Site work for future box hangars; and 2.) Renovation of an existing building to make ready for future tenants.

The EIC voted unanimously to proceed with a funding agreement in the amount of $375,000 for these improvements.

Funding request from KERV Airport.

Workforce Housing Development

The EIC heard a presentation from investors and developers involved in the “Meeker Project,” a potential development which includes up to 35 moderately priced homes near Meeker and Poplar Streets in the eastern half of Kerrville. These homes would be built by local builder Travis Page and would be priced at approximately $159,500 to $203,000 per home, categorized as “workforce housing.”

Contemplated floorplans and elevations for the homes in the Meeker project.

The developers, 2J-PAGE Development, LLC, has requested approximately $701,000 to offset the public infrastructure costs such as roads and utilities. According to the developers and the City of Kerrville staff:

This development could serve as a catalyst and model in providing additional attainable and affordable housing in the community to retain and attract employees for Kerrville’s local employers (both primary and non-primary) to sustain, as well as expand, their local operations. In addition, this development could help in recruitment efforts to attract new employers to the area. Supporting the need for more attainable and affordable housing is identified in specific Action Items in the Kerrville 2050 Comprehensive Plan…

Quote from agenda bill for Item 4C, EIC Agenda for September 16

The EIC heard the presentation and convened discussions in executive session (a closed, non-public portion of the meeting where members discuss ongoing negotiations). Following executive session, the EIC voted unanimously to direct staff to create a “terms sheet,” meaning a list of terms and requirements that must be agreed to before a funding agreement can be contemplated and approved.

References

DISCLOSURE: Your author, Aaron Yates, is a board member of the Kerrville Economic Improvement Corporation. The opinions and statements herein represent the views of Aaron Yates and not necessarily the views or positions of the EIC as a whole, or the City of Kerrville.

Council passes first reading of new sign ordinance

Council passed the first reading of the newly revised sign ordinance in a 4-1 vote on Tuesday night at the regularly scheduled meeting. Kim Clarkson cast the dissenting vote, with Cochrane, Mayor Blackburn, Eychner, and Sigerman in favor of the law that was also approved by the Planning & Zoning Commission on August 15. A second reading must be held and approved before the proposal becomes law.

Council made one amendment to the P&Z version of the law: the “static time” was lengthened from four seconds to eight seconds. The static time refers to the amount of time that a message must “hold” on the screen before transitioning to a new message.

Councilmember Kim Clarkson stated that although she supports re-writing the code, she hoped that approval could be postponed until some of the concerns were worked out.

Changes

Some of the updates to the sign ordinance include:

  • Adding and clarifying definitions of various types of signs including Awning Signs, Canopy Signs, Electronic Displays, and Murals.
  • Adding graphical elements to illustrate the code.
  • Allowing a one-second “fade” on electronic displays
  • Lowering the height requirement for awning, canopy, and projecting signs to 6’8″
  • Simplifies requirements for incidental signs
  • Exempting government flags and signs from the ordinance
  • Exempting traffic control devices
  • Requiring a 6″ frame/border around electronic displays
  • Providing a maximum size of 32 square feet for electronic displays
  • Lengthening the “hold time” or “static time” of electronic displays to eight seconds (added by council)

Process

The process of re-writing the sign ordinance began with the Code Review Committee (CRC) in October 2018. The committee, made up of approximately 15 community members, worked on several ordinances with some of the goals including bringing the laws in line with modern technology, making them easier to understand and enforce, and eliminate any confusion or vagueness. The Code Review Committee held several public meetings as well as an open house to discuss the changes they would propose to the Planning & Zoning Commission (P&Z).

The CRC passed their recommendations to the P&Z, which included a provision to allow certain businesses to install an electronic sign up to 64 square feet in surface area — doubling the current maximum. P&Z held a public hearing on August 15. During that meeting, approximately 14 individuals spoke against a proposed size increase, with two supporting an increase. P&Z removed the increased surface area from the proposed ordinance, among other minor changes, and sent the ordinance up the chain to City Council.

Council must vote and approve of two “readings” of a proposed new ordinance for it to become law. Tuesday’s meeting (September 10) was the first reading, and a second reading will be scheduled for an upcoming council meeting. If the proposal is approved on the second reading, it becomes law.

Timeline of events and meetings leading up to the adoption of the Sign Ordinance

References

Video

Here is the full video of Tuesday night’s meeting.

KPD releases name of officer involved in fatal shooting over Labor Day weekend

Kerrville Police Department issued a new press release on Monday, September 9, discussing more details from the September 1 shooting death of 17-year-old Tommy Luke Hranicky. According to the updated release, pictured below, the officer involved in the shooting was Sergeant Hal Degenhardt, a 15-year veteran of the police force.

According to the new release…

When Sergeant Degenhardt arrived and made contact with the suspect, the suspect was found to be armed with a knife. The suspect advanced on the Officer, who retreated and gave repeated verbal commands for the suspect to stop and drop the knife. The suspect continued to advance with the knife toward the officer and refused to comply with the officer’s commands. Sergeant Degenhardt was forced to fire his duty weapon to protect himself.

Press release dated September 9, 2019

The department went on to state that both the officer’s body camera and his dash camera were activated during the incident. In addition to the Texas Rangers’ investigation, KPD is also conducting an internal investigation into the death. The case will be referred to a grand jury once the investigation is complete.

City Council will get final word on sign ordinance overhaul

Tuesday night’s City Council meeting will include a discussion and consideration of the updated sign ordinance that P&Z approved on August 15. Although the Code Review Committee recommended to P&Z that the largest allowable electronic sign should be increased to 64 square feet from 32 square feet for some businesses, P&Z vetoed that amendment after hearing from over a dozen citizens opposed to the increase. This Tuesday, Council will make the final decision about this ordinance.

Council will vote on the first reading of the ordinance. If approved, a second reading will be scheduled for the next council meeting, and if approved a second time, the new rules will be adopted as law. The public will have a chance to speak at both meetings.

A section of the proposed sign ordinance that defines electronic display.

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, and recommended the increase, among other changes. P&Z held a public hearing and approved new rules, but rejected the electronic signage increase, and now those adopted rules head to council for final approval or denial.

References

Article written by Aaron Yates

UPDATED: Officer-involved shooting reported on Sidney Baker

UPDATE 9/2/19 at 12:30 PM — Kerrville Police Department issued an updated press release via their Facebook page on Monday afternoon. The name of the deceased is Tommy Luke Hranicky, and he was 17 years old. KPD also provided more details on the narrative of events leading up to the shooting:

When the first responding Officer arrived and made contact with the suspect, the suspect was found to be armed with a knife. The suspect advanced on the Officer, who retreated and gave repeated verbal commands for the suspect to stop and drop the knife. The suspect continued to come at the officer, who was forced to fire his duty weapon to protect himself.

KPD Press Release dated September 2

An autopsy will be conducted by the Travis County Medical Examiner’s Office. The officer’s name has been withheld pending an investigation.

SEPT. 1 — On Sunday afternoon, police responded to the 900 block of Sidney Baker Street following reports of a man with a knife. The officer made contact with the subject, and, according to a police statement, the officer feared for his life, drew his weapon, and shot the suspect. The Justice of the Peace pronounced the suspect deceased.

The officer has been placed on administrative leave pending an investigation by the Department of Public Safety, Texas Rangers, and Kerrville Police Department.

This is a developing story and more information will be added when it becomes available.

Approximate location of officer-involved shooting on September 1.
Press release issued by the Kerrville Police Department on September 1.
Updated press release on September 2

References: