The Kerrville Planning and Zoning Commission has unanimously approved an expansive ordinance regulating signs in the city, but with several buts.
After hearing from 14 speakers opposed to the sign ordinance, the four P&Z members in attendance at their Thursday meeting agreed to send the ordinance to Kerrville City Council next month with several amendments. The buts to the agreement were focused on the size of electronic signs and whether those signs should have a border of some sort, and a list of other issues that the council will have to consider.
“I’ve been struggling with this quite a bit,” said commissioner Garrett Harmon, adding he’s comfortable with no electronic signs. “I’d also like to think of myself as a reasonable person.”
From the audience — of about 50 people — the key objection was the allowance of electronic signs that covered 64 square feet. If adopted, that could have dramatically enlarged the signs for electronic monument signs.
One speaker after another came to the podium to encourage the commission to reverse itself and not allow signs of that size.
The most common theme of the night was that large electronic signs were not congruent with the character of the community.
Of the four commissioners present, that sentiment was heard.
“I agree with just about everything that was said here tonight,’’ Harmon said.
Speaking in support of the ordinance, without modifications, was Walt Koenig, president and CEO of the Kerrville Area Chamber of Commerce, who argued that most of the organization’s 900 members were in favor of it, but there also was a hint of pragmatism in his comments.
“These are relatively minor changes and do not impact the character of our community,” Koenig said.
However, he was one of only two speakers who were remotely in favor of adopting the ordinance as it was presented to the commission.
Just some of the concerns speakers raised were:
• Electronic signs were going to cause unneeded light pollution.
• Electronic signs were out of character with the historical charms of the Hill Country.
• In the age of Google maps and GPS, there’s no need for large signs.
In the end, the commission moved to put the issue in front of the city council for a first reading on Sept. 10, and with a second reading scheduled for Sept. 24.