Hondo Anvil Herald (Hondo, Tex.), Vol. 117, No. 26, Ed. 1 Thursday, June 26, 2003 Page: 4 of 58
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Page 4, I he Hondo V.ivil Herald, Thursday, June 26, 2003
Zoning board seeks guidance
from Hondo City Council
By \\ illiam H(K>ver
\\Vll HlKM. C 'KKtSPl iSDtN 1
Hondo Planning and Zoning
Ci'inmisMon Chairman Clyde
Haak initialed a workshop
Monday between the P&Z. city
council and Interim City
Manager Albert Uresti. Haak
requested the meeting so council
could advise the commission
regarding its role in the city’s
/oiling and planning process.
Councilman Arturo Barrientes
w as unable to attend the meeting.
Council told commissioners
they could assist the city most
efficiently by uniformly
enforcing all building codes and
zoning ordinances over which
they had jurisdiction. Council
encouraged the P&Z to embrace
not just zoning, but their role as
planners of the city's growth.
Haak began by telling council
the P&Z. historically had only
made decisions on zoning items
brought before them, such as
where mobile homes may be
placed within the city. “But we
haven't engaged in planning,"
said Haak. “We didn't want to
assume responsibility, but the
ordinances and literature say
w hat the P&Z is supposed to do.
What does council see as the
Councilman Doug Rivers said
ordinances made it clear P&Z
has the power to regulate
zoning, make recommendations
to council and to develop a
comprehensive master plan to
guide the city’s growth.
"We do have a master plan,”
said Haak. "It cost $30,000 and
it's on the shelf collecting dust.
It's a jewel of a job with plats
and plans for the city. It talks
about where the city is headed.
We've been out of synch and we
tend to forget what we have.”
Mayor Ed Fisher advised the
P&Z to have Bob Williams of
E-Strategic Resources revise the
master plan for the city and the
Hondo Economic Development
Committee. “It's a good plan
that needs following up," said
f isher "For a few dollars,
Williams said he can update it.”
Rivers told P&Z members the
city's laws required them to be
more involved in city planning
so they could assist the council
in guiding the growth of Hondo.
"Your first step should be
bringing the master plan up to
speed," said Rivers. "What you
are supposed to do is spelled out
in the ordinance.”
Fisher said a Comprehensive
Master Plan, a five-year Capital
Improvement Plan and an Airport
Master Plan were needed to tell
council where the city was headed
and to help council determine the
needs and goals of the city.
“We can't forecast our needs
or financial requirements
without them," said Fisher. “We
need to understand the plans
within two months so we are
prepared to budget."
Haak noted the city often sets
aside its plans when grant
consultants propose alternate
ideas of their own. “We get
plans, put them on the shelf and
then start spending by impulse,”
said the P&Z chairman. "I call
it planning by application. We
spend funds on outside plans,
but we seem to have no long-
term goals of our own."
Fisher said part of the reason
the city was unable to follow
through on plans was because it
lacked a full-time city manager
for most of the past year. “Things
are starting to change in the last
30 days, now that we have a
(interim) city manager,” he said.
P&Z Commissioner Laura
Wentz said she was glad to have
encouragement from the city
leaders. “The P&Z didn’t feel
supported by council in the
past,” said Wentz. “I believe we
need to familiarize ourselves
with the master plan and then try
to implement it.”
Fisher told Haak he thought the
P&Z could assume responsibility
for planning without having the
item referred to council for a
vote. “My policy is to follow the
ordinances and the zoning rules
as written, with no exception,
except in rare cases,” he said. “If
that rare case comes up, we may
need to revise our laws.”
Rivers believes the P&Z would
have an easier, more equitable
decision-making process to
follow when hearing zoning
requests if they also developed
the comprehensive master plan
which guided the city’s growth
and shaped its appearance.
"The ordinances are there for
a reason,” said Rivers. “If the
Evelyne Barbutti, executive director
Congratulations to Frank
Marker upon receiving one of
Rotary's highest honors, the Paul
Harris Fellow. Frank is one of
those humble individuals who
doesn’t say much but does A
LOT using his own time and re-
sources in an unselfish way. And
you know what, he’s just one of
those "Good Guys” of which
this world needs more. I person-
ally am glad to know him.
And, Andrew Hook, Felicia
Santos and R. J. Cantu were also
honored at last week’s Rotary
induction ceremony. In these
times, when all we hear is bad
stuff about kids, these three truly
represent the majority of the
youth of this community and
(we’d like to believe) the world.
Maybe we need to tout the more
positive roles taken by our
youth, rather than the negative.
• And, let’s not forget our sol-
diers who are still fighting to
keep peace in a far-away land.
Many of us may not realize that
some of our local youth are still
away. While speaking to
Andrew’s mom, she related that
her son has now been shot at
three times. So, let’s keep pray-
ing for him and all our military
during these trying times.
• Had a interesting conversa-
tion with John Polizzi [he’s the
bearded guy who bicycles all
around town - quite a nice guy]
who brought by flyers to let ev-
eryone know about lap swim-
ming [Tues, Wed, Thurs, 7-8
p m. | and water aerobics [Tues,
Wed, Thurs, 10-11 a.m.| at the
Hondo Swimming Pool, which
started June 17, $1 per partici-
pant. These are mainly geared
toward seniors who might not
otherwise want to go to the pool.
Take advantage of this city pro-
gram and have a great summer
everyone!!! [if you see John, tell
him thank you...]
• Welcome to Steve Trevino
Jewelers - new business, new
chamber member. If you haven’t
been in Sonia and Steve’s store
yet [they’re east of Texas Heri-
tage Title] come help us greet
them AND see their pretty jew-
elry. We’re having a Ribbon
Cutting tomorrow [Friday at
4:30]. If you need your jewelry
fixed, they’ll do that as well —
nice to have a jeweler in the fam-
• In our website Guestbook,
Karen Bless Brister writes:
“Looking at genealogy sites and
found this one! Really enjoyed
reading the guestbook! Guy
Eldridge, if you come back to
read the book and see this, con-
tact me. Your name is sooooo
familiar. Anyone w/memories of
my deceased loved ones (Rollie
C. Bless Sr., R.C. Bless Jr., Laura
Bless, Tommy Fitzpatrick)....
love to hear from you! Hi to my
classmates of graduating class
1968!” Just thought we’d share!!
[unfortunately Karen did not
leave her e-mail address... sorry.]
A bit of history for you.....
during this week: in 1910 - the
Japanese army invaded Korea;
in 1922 - the American Profes-
sional Football Association took
the name of National Football
League [and that was the begin-
ning of the couch potato]; and
in 1940 - TV cameras were used
for the first time in a political
convention as the Republicans
convened in Philadelphia, PA.
[so how many of you remember
that?!!?!? or even had a TV
then???]. If you like this kind of
trivia e-stuff, log on to: on-this-
• Thought for today: It takes
no more time to see the good
side of life than to see the bad.
Till Next Time.... Stay Safe
P&Z could follow a master plan,
it would help eliminate the need
for spot zoning and waivers."
Haak also asked the council
how aggressively building code
ordinances should be enforced.
"You have to be consistent with
your decisions and apply them
equally to everyone," said Fisher.
“Make enforcement uniform."
Rivers agreed now was the
time for the city to begin strict
but fair and uniform enforcement
of all city laws. "The biggest
problems we have, historically, is
that we do not enforce the
ordinances we have. We pick and
choose and we can't do that,” said
Rivers, "We need to stop doing
what is politically convenient and
do what is best for the citizens of
"The codes weren't enforced
in the past because people didn’t
bother going to P&Z,” noted
Hernandez. “We need to enforce
our ordinances, or else why do
we have them?”
Fisher encouraged the P&Z to
take care of all business over
which they had jurisdiction.
"Don’t buck it up to council if it
is in the ordinances. If you deny
someone because of an
ordinance, they can appeal to
council. Do your thing," he told
Haak told council the P&Z,
which only meets once a month,
sometimes had trouble denying
waivers to businesses and
residents out of a sense of
sympathy. “We obviously need
to say 'no' more often," he said.
“A lot of politics occur when
people don’t want to comply
with ordinances. We need to
know if the council is for strict
compliance or no compliance.
“The prior criticism was. if
you knew the building inspector,
you got what you wanted,” said
Haak: “It hurt the credibility of
the whole process. We need to
build credibility in local
government. If you don't have
credibility, you can’t make a
local government function.”
“What do you need from
council?” Fisher asked Haak.
“To tell us if we should strictly
enforce ordinances,” said Haak.
“We’ve always been reasonable
if there is a hardship.”
“We need strict enforcement,”
said Councilman Todd Hargrove.
“People enforcing our ordinances
need to be educated about what
they are. The building inspector
and code compliance officer need
to be accountable. Just last week,
staff was telling people things
that were not true about obtaining
permits. We have a general lack
Hernandez and Councilwoman
Ann-Michelle Long agreed the
P&Z needed to enforce all
ordinances equally and stop
granting waivers out of sympathy
Rivers noted the last three or
four years were difficult because
of the frequent turnover of city
managers and said the P&Z
needs to follow city ordinances.
“The code compliance officer
and building inspector need to be
educated to work hand-in-hand,”
said Commissioner Elmo Pope.
“We need to follow rules notifying
adjacent property owners. If they
don’t answer in writing, they need
to show up at meetings. Adjacent
property owners need to be
educated instead of complaining
to council later.”
“We want as strict of
enforcement as possible, is that
correct?” Haak asked council.
“I think so," said Rivers. "We
have ordinances there for a reason.
It is just like the day-to-day
operations of the city. Policy and
guidelines protect the employee
and the employer. It’s the same
with ordinance enforcement."
Haak then asked to discuss
after-the-fact violations where the
landowner complies with all
ordinances only to have the
contractor come in and build a
structure out of code in some way.
Hernandez said the building
inspector or code compliance
officer has to be responsible for
checking elevations, sign heights
and other building requirements
which affect the uniformity and
appearance of the city. "If
buildings were inspected during
construction, there would be no
after-the-fact violations,” she said.
Hargrove asked if the
inspector was too overwhelmed
to properly keep track of new
construction in Hondo. “Who
checks that things are installed
correctly?” he asked.
“The building inspector,” said
Haak. “We just haven't had the
follow up we need in code
Fisher told Hargrove the city
manager was addressing the
code compliance problem.
However, the mayor said he
could not share what, exactly,
the city manager was doing, as
it was a personnel issue which
could not be discussed in public.
"But, if s not just this building
inspector. It's a problem in
general," said Hargrove.
Rivers agreed. "We need all
employees to know what their
job is, make sure they are trained,
and make sure they enforce the
rules, regulations, odes, and
ordinances as they are written,”
he said. “You can’t blame staff
when they’re not trained.”
“They have a lot to do just for
our meetings," said Wentz.
"That isn't even their everyday
stuff, so I'm sure they are busy.”
To improve efficiency of the
system, Uresti said he had
assigned different employees to
handle permits and variances.
Uresti said council also needed
to adopt a new electric code, new
building codes and hire a
plumbing inspector. “We don’t
want to be San Antonio, but using
the building code they use would
allow for continuity,” he said. “A
lot of builders, contractors,
architects and engineers come
from San Antonio. If they know
one code, they know them both.”
A new subdivision ordinance
and a reorganization of
responsibilities would go a long
way toward ensuring new
buildings comply with city codes,
according to Uresti. “We need to
reexamine our subdivision
ordinance," he said. “Another
thing that should be happening,
but isn’t, is staff-the city manager
included-should be handling 80%
of the city problems. That’s not
the way it’s going. Staff should be
the front line with the P&Z
handling 15% of the problems,
then only 5% of problems should
fall in council’s lap.”
Uresti said the division of labor
between city staff and council
was an unacceptable 50-50. “As
we adopt new plans, you will see
change,” Uresti said. “However,
until you have a permanent city
manager, it will be hard to initiate
and maintain change.”
CONTINUED FROM PAGE I
dogs, chili pies, pickles, beer,
soda, water, shish kebobs and
corn-on-a-stick, funnel cakes
and snow cones.
Buster Jiggs band will pro-
vide musical entertainment and
Valley Cheer and Tumbling will
give an exhibition of their skills.
There will also be face painting
for the youngsters.
Booths are expected to offer
sunglasses, hats, helium bal-
loons, garden items and more.
The blood mobile will be there
to accept those special donations.
The evening program will be-
gin at approximately 7 p.m.
with presentation of awards for
the softball tournament. The
program will include words
from Mayor Ed Fisher and a
salute to veterans. Colors will
be presented by the Texas
20009th Air force Junior Re-,
serve Officers’ Training Corps
(AFJROTC) Cadet Operations
group Color Guard from Me-
dina Valley High School, Cas-
troville. This distinguished
AFJROTC unit is lead by com-
mander Cadet Colonel Paul
Highlight of the evening will
be a fireworks show.
Everyone is invited to come
enjoy July 4th at the Park.
Thursdays 5:30 - 7:30 p.m. Starting July 3
Instructor: Pamela Presley
Call after 6 p.m. for price A location
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July 7 - 25, Monday, Wednesday & Friday
9 a.m. - 3 p.m.
Ages 6-13 yrs. • Pre-registration Preferred
$15 fee includes 3 weeks of Food & Fun!
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Hondo Anvil Herald (Hondo, Tex.), Vol. 117, No. 26, Ed. 1 Thursday, June 26, 2003, newspaper, June 26, 2003; Hondo, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth819733/m1/4/: accessed December 19, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Hondo Public Library.