OVILLA – At Monday night’s Ovilla city council meeting Place Five Councilmember James Wade requested an item be placed on the agenda concerning the necessity and possible elimination of the Historical District in the city.
With a lengthy discussion following the outcome resulted in the council deciding that the future of Ovilla’s historic district should indeed be considered, but not without much thought and deliberation. One question, on everyone’s mind seemed to be “what exactly were earlier council members and now the existing council trying to preserve in the historical district.”
“This is something that needs to be looked at,” Ovilla Mayor Bill Turner stressed.
Topping the discussion was the fact that at one time in Ovilla history there had been a Historical District Commission, but this commission had disbanded and since that time requests for changes in façade or historical district building has been funneled through the Planning and Zoning Commission. Wade made comment that the owner of the new doctor’s office had wanted a metal roof, but was not able to get one due to, apparently, the historical district codes. However, in the end it came out that the owner could have requested a metal roof and gone through the Planning and Zoning Commission he had simply chosen not to reapply for it.
Wade noted that he felt at one time the historical district was a good thing, but now he feels the rules are “basically preventing property rights for innovation.”
Councilmember Richard Dormier wanted to know exactly who had been turned down by the Planning and Zoning Commission and the City Council when making requests. Wade was not able to supply that information explaining “it could happen” giving the property owner no rights.
Councilmember Ralph Hall said that without zoning and government procedures in place, even more problems would arise. That said, Turner added, “If we do away with the historical district there are going to be some problems zoning.”
Wade was speaking on behalf of a citizen who had come to him. And, while he was arguing that there is not enough leeway for people wanting to renovate in the historical district, he also said that someone had asked him how the doctor’s office building was approved. One councilmember then acknowledged that the point had just been proven that the Planning and Zoning Commission and the City Council do make exceptions and are not trying to halt “innovation.”
Wade said he was interested in the historical district changing into a CI Special Use Permit area as opposed to a historical district. The council will continue discussions in upcoming meetings concerning the historical area, possibly appointing a committee for additional research.
Several citizens also commented on the historical district, several for and several against its elimination.
In other news the City of Ovilla has finally hired a new city accountant, Sharon Jungman, who City Administrator Randy Whiteman introduced on Monday night. Jungman is a resident of Ovilla.
Whiteman also mentioned that Charter Communication had gone into Chapter 11, a financial rebuilding. However the move in no way should affect the city and the paying of the regular franchise fee.
Police Chief Mike Moon reported on the Service League fundraiser. While he was not sure how much was made, a check will be presented to the police department in the near future from the event.
“It was a good turnout,” he said.
Moon went on to discuss the annual racial profiling report he had just completed for the state. The report is filed with the city, but is the information that the city uses to respond to open records requests.
Moon noted that with this report he is certain that no one could say Ovilla racially profiles with 60 percent males and 40 percent females receiving citations and 87 percent white, 13 percent African American and two percent Hispanic receiving citations. In line with last year’s report, Moon said he felt the percentages do match the demographics of the city.
With Councilmember Bill Vansyckle out, the council voted 4 – 0 to name Charlie Morton Election Judge for the upcoming May 09, 2009 election and City Secretary Pam Higgins will take the role of early voting clerk for the city.
Councilmember Tom Leverentz told the council that an item, tabled since September concerning a home owner’s association agreement, would be ready for discussion at the next regularly scheduled council meeting.