City council votes to amend parking ordinances, hashes over EDC appointment
By LYNETTE SOWELL
The Copperas Cove city council held another public hearing Tuesday evening with a subsequent vote to amend the city’s ordinances where on-street parking of trailers and RVs are concerned, along with changes to the code where off-street parking is concerned.
The changes call for no parking allowed in the front yard unless on concrete or asphalt; to allow side yard parking on a product constructed of a material that does not create mud during rainfall; moving recreational vehicles regulations from Chapter 20 to Chapter 18; change verbiage from “stored” to “parked”; to allow the Police Department citation options, not just towing; to allow trailers to be parked on city streets with certain conditions; to allow recreational vehicles 72 hours to load/unload.
Two residents spoke up on Tuesday, one of them being Danny Palmer.
“My issue is, why does the city tell me what to do with my property, when the city does what they want to with their property? They park on the grass at Rabbit Fest, anywhere else they want to, yet they’re going to tell me where I can park and where I can’t. If I have to furnish a place that has soil and all that other stuff, why shouldn’t we do that in city Park and anywhere else we have functions?”
Next up was Brian Rhoads, who told the council he has been a contractor in the city for 25 years. He addressed the proposed changes to trailer parking on city streets and said he has never had a complaint about his trailer. He also said that construction trailers are different than boat trailers and RVs.
“Construction trailers haul materials, they hold our tools, and our livelihoods. I can only speak for my trailer that it is registered, inspected, it is allowed to be on the city street,” Rhoads said. “I was parked legally just like the many cars. Some of these houses have six cars in front of them. Why can’t I park my trailer there? Why should I; have to go through additional expense and park it somewhere else? I ask that you reconsider and allow us to keep our construction trailers at our residence.”
When it came time to make a decision, councilman Jay Manning made the motion but added some other language in Section 20-24, f(4) for “front and side yard parking” to be paved with an all-weather surface and that “All parking in rear yard shall be at the discretion of the owner.”
During the discussion, it was brought up that construction trailers could remain parked on the streets as long as they are hitched to a vehicle. Manning said he has sympathy for work trailers and he’s run into the same problem himself, but he had heartburn with telling people they couldn’t park in their backyard any way they choose.
EDC, KCCB board appointments
Place 3 on the Copperas Cove Economic Development Corporation board of directors was filled on Tuesday evening. Although four applications were presented to the council, councilman Dan Yancey insisted he make a motion to postpone the action on the item “so we can expand the application base.” This was seconded by Jay Manning.
Charlie Youngs said with the four applications received, he didn’t want to postpone it for “99 years” but he agreed with Yancey to “see if we can get a little bit wider experience level” and asked if it could be brought back at the second meeting in February.
Councilman Kirby Lack didn’t agree with that.
“We have four people in front of us. We should do just an up-and-down vote on all of them like we always do; one name at a time comes up and we vote yes or no,” he said.
Applications came from Elizabeth Chrzastek, Edgardo Febles, Gary Kent, and Marcie Lowery.
Yancey elaborated more on why he made the motion to postpone.
“I think this is a very important position on the board, and it’s important we get good people on there, and I would like to expand that to get the best possible person on the economic development corporation.”
James Pierce Jr. didn’t like the message it would send if the council postponed a decision on the four applicants.
“At times we have a hard time getting people to apply and get involved in our city, we’re telling these four people, regardless of your experience level, you’re not qualified to serve on one of our boards,” Pierce said, adding that the council has agreed to voting on multiple applicants by the use of a lottery system.
George Duncan echoed that idea.
“We need to be cautious with the message sent. When you make a recommendation to extend it, the point you’re making with it is to look for better people or more qualified people…if I was one of these applicants listening to this discussion tonight, the first thing I would do in the morning is call the city and say, ‘Remove my application, I’m not interested.’”
Yancey’s motion to postpone failed to pass, with councilmen Morris, Pierce, Lack and Duncan voting against it. Following that, a random name draw was made and applicant Marcie Lowery was voted upon, with councilmen Yancey, Manning, and Youngs voting against Lowery’s appointment. The term for place 3 expires Sept. 30, 2019.
According to Lowery’s application for the board, she has lived in Copperas Cove for nine years. She presently serves on the city’s Quality of Life advisory committee as secretary, is a member of the city’s Citizens Focus Group, the city’s Board of Adjustments Advisory Committee and is a 2017 graduate of the Central Texas Council of Governments Leadership Academy. Lowery also a member of the State Bar of Texas Paralegal Division, Texas Association of Realtors, National Association of Realtors, Williamson County Board of Realtors, Austin Board of Realtors, Fort Hood Area Association of Realtors, is a Texas Veterans Land Board Preferred Real Estate Professional and is part of the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals. She works as an independent contractor licensed real estate agent with J.B. Goodwin Realtors.
The council did unanimously vote to appoint five board members to the Keep Copperas Cove Beautiful Commission, among them current members Mary Derrick and Marc Payne, former board member Bob Hill, and two new appointees, Elizabeth Chrzastek and Julie Norman.
Public hearing, a no to Cove House refund
Also on Tuesday, the council held the first public hearing for a 2017-2018 budget amendment to use fund balance for the above purchase of the influent screen for the South Water Treatment Plant and to use $40,000 from the buy-back agreement to purchase two new motorcycles for the police department.
The council voted to decline councilman David Morris’ recommendation to refund Cove House Emergency Homeless Shelter the $450 in rental fees it paid for using the Civic Center for its annual banquet. Councilman Dan Yancey, Jay Manning, George Duncan and Charlie Youngs voted in favor of denying the request, while Morris, James Pierce Jr and Kirby Lack voted against the denial of funds to the nonprofit.
After some discussion with Parks & Recreation director Joe Brown, the council voted to reject three bids for the golf course cart path construction and gave authorization to rebid the project in phases.
The Police Department is also received the okay to reject bids received for police pursuit SUV upfitting, and a request to authorize the city manager to rebid the upfitting of police vehicles.
The council set the dates for its annual retreat and annual planning session as February 5 and April 5, respectively.
The council also approved:
• The purchase of two light duty Ford F-150 trucks along with equipment upfitting for Animal Control in the amount of $57,669.10.
• Repealing an ordinance that temporarily lowered the speed on a section of F.M. 116 North during road construction.
• The emergency purchase of a new influent screen for the South Wastewater Treatment Plant in the amount of $88,650.
• Renewing a memorandum of understanding with the State of Texas for interoperability communications.
• Designating the city manager as the authorized person to apply for, accept, reject, alter or terminate, and close Homeland Security grants.
• Authorizing the city manager to enter into a memorandum of agreement with the Capital Area Trauma Regional Advisory Council.
• A resolution that allows the city manager along with the city’s Emergency Management Coordinator and Director of Finance to conduct actions necessary to apply for, accept, reject, alter, terminate, submit progress reports, and close an Emergency Management Performance grant.
• Authorized the city manager to execute a letter of agreement between the city and Central Texas College District, assuming responsibility for the waterline service relocation under Interstate 14.
• Declared two truck bodies and a crane as surplus property to be disposed of.