Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Rockwall City Council 19 July

The 6:00pm meeting started promptly at 6:05pm.

III. Consent Agenda.

All Passed 6-0.

There was some discussion of upcoming development on the large area west of Ridge Road where Alamo St is interrupted.

IV. Appointments.

1. P&Z Chairman Hunter briefly talked about the upcoming public hearing on a replat that wasn't heard at the last P&Z because the applicant was a no-show.

Motion to continue until next meeting.

2. Lady wants to build some parking spaces at her business downtown on public right-of-way.

Passes without discussion 6-0.

3. Almost exactly the same (different lady) as #2. Passes 6-0.

V. Public Hearings.

1. See appointment #1.

VI. Action Items.

1. Pergola thing from last meeting is back. After a lengthy coma-inducing discussion, council is sending the item to Dallas for approval.

4 & 5. Extension of 212 agreements for undeveloped areas under consideration for annexation (mostly or completely surrounded by city anyways).

Mayor Pro Tem Glen Farris expressed that he opposes the annexation of the areas unless it was to regulate development.

Motion to begin annexation passed 4-2, Councilman Russo and Mayor Pro Tem Farris opposed.

3. Donor recognition signs from last meeting are back.

Little discussion, but self-designated sign-Nazi Farris wanted pole signs excluded from the donor sign allowance.

He explained that if these signs were up along the I-30 corridor (only place pole signs allowed), it would cause confusion finding things.

In other words, signs would make it hard to find the place you want to go.

Plus, Glen hates pole signs. Example of a Pole sign:

Passed 6-0.

2. Directional signs. Discussed back in November. The signs would be privately maintained, and would b e used to direct people to areas around town (Harbor, Downtown) and businesses in those areas. The businesses on the signs would pay the private company and the city would get a percentage of those sales. Home builders would not be allowed to advertise. The issue was brought forth to council (both times) by Councilman Sevier, who explained this program would be ideal to help promote areas like the Harbor and Downtown.

The discussion revolved around making it easy to get around town and reduce confusion while searching for a business.

In other words, signs would make it easy to find the place you want to go.

Motion to get staff to look at (again presumably, as it was the same request in November), passes 6-0.

The following item was not on the agenda posted Friday afternoon:

6. Actual wording from the agenda amendment :

6. * Discuss and consider maintenance issues at the Shores Golf Course, and take any action necessary.

* Justification: This is an emergency agenda item. Due to maintenance conditions, including irrigation deficiencies and the extreme heat observed today, July 19th, at the Shores Golf Course, discussion and possible action may be required to ensure protection of City controlled property.

Here's how the law is written:

Sec. 551.045. EXCEPTION TO GENERAL RULE: NOTICE OF EMERGENCY MEETING OR EMERGENCY ADDITION TO AGENDA. (a) In an emergency or when there is an urgent public necessity, the notice of a meeting or the supplemental notice of a subject added as an item to the agenda for a meeting for which notice has been posted in accordance with this subchapter is sufficient if it is posted for at least two hours before the meeting is convened.

(b) An emergency or an urgent public necessity exists only if immediate action is required of a governmental body because of:

(1) an imminent threat to public health and safety; or

(2) a reasonably unforeseeable situation.

(c) The governmental body shall clearly identify the emergency or urgent public necessity in the notice or supplemental notice under this section.

(d) A person who is designated or authorized to post notice of a meeting by a governmental body under this subchapter shall post the notice taking at face value the governmental body's stated reason for the emergency or urgent public necessity.

(e) For purposes of Subsection (b)(2), the sudden relocation of a large number of residents from the area of a declared disaster to a governmental body's jurisdiction is considered a reasonably unforeseeable situation for a reasonable period immediately following the relocation. Notice of an emergency meeting or supplemental notice of an emergency item added to the agenda of a meeting to address a situation described by this subsection must be given to members of the news media as provided by Section 551.047 not later than one hour before the meeting.

Possible examples of

"(1) an imminent threat to public health and safety; or

(2) a reasonably unforeseeable situation."



The moon crashing into the earth.

Praxis exploding.

Is lawn maintenance of a private golf course an example of

"(1) an imminent threat to public health and safety; or

(2) a reasonably unforeseeable situation."?

Dead grass.

A worthy and important issue? Probably.

Is it worth possibly violating state law? I'm not Greg Abbot. What was so vitally important as to amend the agenda at noon, was no longer important at 7:30pm. The item was removed from the agenda. (Several in audience were quite unhappy about that, too.)

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Rockwall City Council 6 July

III. Open Forum.

1. A representative from RISD briefly talked about the strategic plan devised by a 156 member committee. She didn't get into details of the report, but I can imagine it read something like: "blah blah blah, spend tons of cash, tax tax tax, it's for the children."

IV. Consent Agenda.

#6 (regarding one of the SUP's for a new antique store) was pulled and didn't need to be.

All were eventually approved 7-0.

V. Appointments.

1. Fella that wants to break the world record for giant work out session at the harbor was back asking for half the money he wanted before - this time "only" $2500.00.

Mayor Pro Tem Farris gave mad props to Councilman Russo for bringing the "Fit City" initiative to Rockwall and made a motion to support the request.

It is slightly possible the city could get the money back if the fund raising goals are met. The organizers wanted to give any leftover money to the Boys and Girls club, which Councilman Farris thought acceptable. (Was not a staff recomendation, but the idea was entertained to amend the motion.)

Councilman Sweet expressed he would not support the motion as not a wise expenditure of taxpayer money, nor should any leftover city money go to a non-profit.

Councilman Sevier also did not support giving the money to a non-profit and stated that the collected Hotel/Motel Tax dollars are available for such events.

Councilman Russo dittoed the opposition of "funneling" money to a non-profit.

Mayor Pro Tem Farris re-amended the motion to remove the "funneling".

It was also argued that this would "bring economic development to the harbor". (That's polispeak for "I can't think of a better argument and no one will argue against 'economic development.'" Much like "it's for the children", "it's for health and safety", or "national security.")

Mrs Nielsen expressed that she would help find more sponsors and that this was a loan. (An unsecured loan.)

Mayor Cecil pointed out to those still opposed (with the "funneling" taken out) that they aren't willing the expend $2500 on this, but are willing to put forth $700,000 worth of bonds!

The motion passes 5-2, Councilman Sweet opposed spending yours and my tax dollars on the event.

VI. Action Items.

1. The city is going to spend $20,000 to have an on-site spay/neuter clinic at the Animal Adoption Center.

The current policy is after an adoption, the new owners have 6 months (!) to get the animal fixed. The city confirms this by having an animal control officer contact the owner and ask if they have done so. And if they haven't fixed the animal, well, they'd better - or else they might get called again.

But for an initial cost of $20,000 plus whatever it costs to have a vet come to the adoption center and perform the operation, the city will no longer have to waste man hours calling adopters for follow-up.

Motion for staff to pursue this adventure passes 7-0.

2. The all-new, comprehensive sign ordinance that staff and council recently passed after spending untold hours and months developing needs amending.

The YMCA would like to install a couple signs thanking sponsors. The city's current ordinance classifies this as off-premise advertising and it is unacceptable. The change would make it acceptable for non-profits to use some of their sign allowance showcasing the sponsors that make the operation possible.

15 minutes of rambling discussion ensued, including the concern that a church might also take advantage of this allowance, because that's what a church would do - get a corporate sponsor.

Well, maybe if this guy was the pastor:

The motion to approve, brought to you by Carl's Jr, passed 7-0.