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