City Council 4.10.23
Monday night’s city council meeting saw all council members in attendance. Following a short public hearing regarding roughly one and a half acres of land (commonly called the Hot Creek Road Extension). The land is currently owned by the city, who asserted that it doesn’t serve the public in any way and that exchanging it for property of an equal value was in the best interest of the citizens. Ultimately, the council agreed that trading the land was in the city and public’s best interest.
Department head reports began with Community Development director, Brock Cherry, discussing the start of annual impact fee audits, resilient and strong home values, and announcing that vertical construction is visible around the city on various projects. Following Mr. Cherry, Betsy Hiddleston announced a number of upcoming events including walkability studies, “Purple Up Day” celebrating the month of the military child, and the groundbreaking for Mountain Bound RV park. Fire Chief Mark Moore noted that the application phase of the fire department’s hiring process has begun. Police Chief Thompson highlighted recent joint firearm training between his department and the county’s juvenile corrections and courthouse teams. He also announced the upcoming “coffee with a cop” event taking place on April 22nd from 9am-12pm at Brie’sta. Public Works Director Rich Urquidi acknowledged the increase in water use city-wide and added that the bacteria test on the new well yielded clean results.
Moving to the consent agenda, items “K” and “L” were pulled for further discussion. Before proceeding, councilman Brennan asked the previous meeting’s minutes to be revised to reflect his belief that the proposed move of council meetings from Mondays at 6pm to Tuesdays at 5pm would be unfavorable for citizens. He felt that the initial draft of the minutes did not accurately portray his view on the proposal.
Item “K”, pending approval, would award a bid to Sunroc Corporation for the reconstruction of West 5th. from North 3rd W. to NW Cedar project. Some council members argued that it didn’t make sense to prioritize the repair of this road over other roads that are more frequently accessed and in further disrepair. Additionally, it was mentioned that if a developer were to purchase land adjacent to the road, they would be financially responsible for repairing a portion of the road. Those in favor of awarding the bid argued that a quality road is pertinent to attracting potential developers. Conclusively, the council faced a split vote, with councilmembers Garvey and McCain voting against awarding the bid, and council members Brennan and Green voting in favor of repairing the road. Mayor Sykes was awarded the tie-breaking vote and voted in favor of repairing the road.
Moving forward, councilman James Green advised that item “L” which would have awarded a bid for the construction of the city pool to Texas Aquatic Construction, was pulled following a procedural error. Due to the bid proposal failing to meet the required publication range, the city elected to reject all bids in order to prevent any potential litigation. Additionally, it was noted that Tom Bidigeneta had addressed a letter to the city denouncing what he perceived as the city failing to seek out and prioritize local bids. This prompted Paul Fitzer—the city’s attorney—to say, “80-85% of what he is complaining about isn’t legally legitimate, but it wasn’t posted as long as is legally required”.
A deliberation on a planning and zoning commission recommendation to amend the R-4 PUD with conditions for Freedom Estates followed with some controversy. It was divulged that homeowners adjacent to the development previously believed they had the legal right to an easement; however, it was proven that the homeowners did not have a legal right to an easement. The developers attested to a strong relationship with the homeowners and repeatedly said they planned to provide an easement, but were not legally obligated to provide one. This was cause for concern for some of the council members; others, though, felt that the city shouldn’t become involved.
Next the council discussed the creation of a preliminary plat request fee, after some discussion and hearing advice from legal counsel, the council decided on $200 as the amount for the potential preliminary plat extension fee. A public hearing will have to be held before any final decision is made.
Finally, the council moved to their last item, making a decision on Ordinance #1771 which relates to changing the time and day of city council meetings. The change was approved with only councilman Brennan dissenting. The ordinance will change meetings from Monday nights at 6pm to Tuesday nights at 5pm and is expected to take effect for the first time on May 22nd.
Public comment saw a citizen come before the council to recommend allowing vendors to pay and set up in Legacy Park during events to create a new source of revenue for the city, and more specifically, the parks and recreation department. He described seeing scores of individuals at the park for parks and rec. soccer games, and sees it as an opportunity. Many of the council members agreed that the individuals attending games would appreciate having food and drink options. It appeared as though city officials and members of the parks and rec. department will begin the process of pursuing concessions in the parks during events. This marked the end of the meeting.