The Glen Rose City Council had lengthy discussions but took little action at its special meeting Monday.
A change order for the Riverwalk project was approved unanimously. The bill totaled $6,700 with $2,500 allocated for a handrail and $4,200 for crushed rock to fill in an area near the boat dock.
The council then discussed uniform exteriors to commercial buildings, sign ordinances for downtown business and police department policies and procedures. The commercial building exteriors was scheduled to appear on the Sept. 28 special meeting agenda. At that meeting, the council will discuss the item with Daniel Sefko. He and his planning firm, Sefko and Associates, are in charge of the city’s comprehensive plan.
The police department policies and procedures was moved to the October regular meeting.
Council members did come to an agreement on the sign ordinance, which will allow the downtown business sector to place A-frame signs advertising their businesses. The minimum size of the signs is two feet by three feet and the maximum size is three feet by four feet.
The main event at Monday’s meeting began when council discussed its last agenda item, which was screening requirements in the zoning ordinance. Screening requires businesses to enclose their garbage dumpsters on at least three sides.
Council member Barbara Mitchell said that in the past few months she has noticed more than two dozen businesses that are not in compliance with the screening requirements. She also stated that those businesses were not grandfathered in under the zoning ordinance.
The three-sided screening requirement was added in 1993. Currently, it states that businesses must enclose dumpsters on three sides with either shrubs, masonry, wood or metal materials. City staff informed the council that business owners do not come to the city to request the dumpsters, which makes it difficult to inform them of the zoning ordinance.
“How do we let them know we have an ordinance?” Mitchell asked.
Staff said they provide businesses with a copy of the rule when they come in to begin water services.
It was also brought to light that three warnings were issued to businesses that were not in compliance with the rule, the warnings were later rescinded at the request of a lone council member.
“I requested them to be pulled through Ron (Bruce, city superintendent),” Chris Bryant said.
Bryant backed his decision by informing the council that he was getting involved and he suggested other council members do the same. However, not all of them agreed with him.
“That’s a council decision, not an individual council member’s decision,” Bob Strickland said. “I suggest you put it on the agenda instead of making an arbitrary decision for the rest of us.”
Several members agreed that the city needs to be able to enforce the rules. They were informed that under the current procedures, warnings or tickets are not issued for compliance until complaints are received.
“We need to be proactive instead of reactive,” said Mitchell.
The council is required to hold a public hearing before any changes to the zoning ordinance can be made. The council voted, three to two, with Bryant and Rick Villa against, to hold a public hearing on the screening requirements at the regular October council meeting.