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Copperas Cove Planning and Zoning meeting draws a crowd

Community gives input on proposed new zoning ordinance


Cove Leader-Press 


The city council chambers were filled for Monday night’s Planning & Zoning Commission meeting, and an overflow audience watched via live stream at the library meeting room next door. 

A number of residents signed up to address the zoning commission and offer their comments and ask questions.

The meeting was scheduled because the City of Copperas Cove sent out a notice to more than 12,000 Copperas Cove property owners regarding the city’s proposed zoning ordinance change that was [presented to the commission on Monday.

Brian Mabry, with Kendig Keast Collaborative, made the presentation that gave an overview of the proposed ordinance. 

By the end of the meeting, which lasted a little over two hours, the commissioners had a short list of recommendations for the city council, which will hold a public hearing in September prior to voting. 

The recommendations include revising the wording that specifies what type of enclosures must be in place for commercial dumpsters. Another requested change or tweak to the ordinance wording includes requiring the planting of trees on new residential construction lots. Also, the commissioners will ask for a revision/consideration for fences to be constructed in front yards, which are currently not allowed.

The first change request came about after Jennie Snelling, property manager for Cove Terrace Shopping Center, addressed the part of the ordinance that discusses dumpsters. 

In the ordinance, dumpsters must be fully enclosed by a wall with a minimum height of six feet constructed to match the principal building, and have metal service gates that remain closed at all times except when the dumpster is being serviced, and include a separate metal pedestrian access gate. 

Snelling said that the diagram for the dumpster in the new ordinance was a pretty picture for the new enclosures.

“But if you go check on F.M. 2657, the new Dollar General out there has only been there about a year and a half, two years. The gates on that one lasted approximately six to seven weeks and they were plowed,” Snelling said. “You’ll need to come up with a real ballistic enclosure and if you want to close down so that it’s not visible to the public. You need to redesign this in some way shape or form because those things do not last.”

She also talked about encouraging xeriscaping because of the water issues the area is experiencing with the drought. 

Another local resident, Nelson Helm, discussed his views on the ordinance as a whole. Helm told the commission he has 35 years of past planning experience, many of those years with the City and County Planning Commission for the third largest city in the state of Nebraska, Grand Island. 

“I think the ordinance that has been prepared for you by your consultant with the planning commission staff and the commission is one of the best ones that I have seen for some time. I think it clarifies with good verbiage and good graphics, the intent of how to guide the future of our city,” he said. “

However, one of the concerns he did see was what other cities faces as well, that of trying to avoid cookie cutter development. 

“It’s becoming more and more common to see that cookie cutter development more than the custom homes that we generally have been used to. I would like to point out in my subdivision, I like to give kudos to the builders who first built – I think there were only one or two developers – that they were wise enough to vary the plans and elevations of the homes built there so that it does not appear to be tract housing. I say that in complete opposition to what has recently occurred immediately west of me which is a sea of cookie cutter duplexes, probably 50 or 60 that are entirely the same throughout the whole development with the exception of a couple of two-story units that are thrown in here and there and even those are duplicates of one another. 

“The other issue that I see that has been discussed before, is the issue of landscaping and tree planting. I know there are some landscaping requirements for commercial districts, but I would remind the commission part of the motto of Copperas Cove is a city built for family living and families live in residential zones.

“And I think residential zones deserve a high priority as far as trying to achieve maximum Beautification and a place that families are proud to live in.”

His comments about landscaping were echoed by several of the other citizens who spoke during the hearing. 

Several in the audience wanted to address issues they saw within the city, such as the new residential construction and builds of “hundreds of units” off 190 and new duplexes being built during a drought with water restrictions and the need for conservation. 

At least two from the audience talked about the speed along Big Divide Road and the need for the city to create “zoning” for things for families to do. 

They were reminded by the commission that this meeting was a public hearing for the zoning ordinance, and that those issues could not be discussed in this particular meeting format. 

City Manager Ryan Haverlah said that state law allows the public to make comments during this time, but does not allow a back-and-forth dialogue, as per the Open Meetings Act.

“Nothing else can be discussed, except for what’s on the agenda. So if you do have comments, by all means, please make them and we will take note of those and then we will reach back out to you to actually have that dialogue back and forth,” Haverlah said.

None of the new zoning designations in the ordinance are being requested by a specific property developer or other business and the zoning itself of any of those properties is not being changed to a different designation, such as changing from residential to retail, for example.

All developers and businesses who wish to have a property rezoned must do so by filing and application and paying a fee to the city, before anything occurs. 

The entire draft of the zoning ordinance is online at

The proposed zoning ordinance will be going before the council at its Tuesday, Sept. 19 meeting. 

Copperas Cove Leader Press

2210 U.S. 190
Copperas Cove, TX 76522
Phone:(254) 547-4207