The Midlothian City Council held a special called meeting to finalize four technical annexations Tuesday, Sept. 17.

A quorum of council members minus T.J. Henley and Mike Rodgers voted unanimously on each of four annexations to correct mapping and survey errors in the city. The four tracts total 43 acres and contain six property owners.

The first annexation of 29 acres is west of Farm-to-Market 663 and 900 feet south of McAlpin Road and contains five property owners. The second tract contains about two acres where the Mt. Peak water tower is situated in the Valley View Estates subdivision. The third tract contains about five acres located on Mt. Zion Road 360 feet west of Sudith Lane and contains one property owner.

The fourth tract contains 6.3 acres and is located on Farm-to-Market 1387 860 feet east of the Union Pacific Railroad Line. Planning Manager Alberto Mares noted that this tract is part of a larger piece of property erroneously outside the city limits. Mares suggested that the council include the remainder of this property in future, second round of technical annexations.

After approving these annexations, the council adjourned its called meeting and entered into a workshop session to discuss development and housing design standards.

The planning department previously held a roundtable with local developers to review a list of suggested changes to the standards. Mares and Chief Building Official Tim Littlejohn presented the developers' feedback to the council and received direction on which changes to implement.

Littlejohn said the roundtable of eight builders readily accepted the first two changes, a requirement for radiant barrier roofing (to increase energy efficiency) and a minimum roof pitch of 7:12. However, developers took issue with the second part of the minimum roof pitch, a requirement for 30-pound felt tar paper, which “would exponentially increase construction cost.” The council agreed to strike this requirement from the proposed standards changes.

On the standards amendment to require laminated roof shingles with a three-dimensional appearance with a 30-year warranty, the roundtable of builders requested that developers be grandfathered (exempt) from the three-dimensional appearance. The council agreed not to allow any exceptions and to set an effective Jan. 1, 2014 date. This was consistent with city staff's recommendation to deny and set a 90-day effective date.

The council agreed to strike the fourth change at the request of builders to require a minimum 12 inches overhang on roof soffits. The council and builders noted that two-story houses or steep roof pitches would make it very difficult to meet this standard.

The fifth change would require a minimum 440 square feet for residential garages and a minimum depth of 22 feet, with J-swing garages required to have an 18-foot wide door. The council and city staff discussed these requirements before choosing to implement the builder approved changes and research other cities' garage ordinances before making a final decision on disputed changes.

On front-facing architectural style and elevation standards, the council discussed how to implement this change to prevent repetition. Council member Jimmie McClure brought the issue of houses that back up to major thoroughfares being repetitive in appearances. McClure suggested an ordinance to require the backs of these houses to also comply with a non-repetitive standard. No decision was reached on either suggestion.

Other changes approved included front porches fully covered and a minimum of 7 feet deep; require underground automatic irrigation systems, with large lots limited to 12,000 square feet; set cycle time on electronic signs to six seconds and require city electronic signs to meet this same standard.

The council postponed discussing subdivision design amendments and adjourned.