After assuring residents that city staff will work with them to address newly non-conforming properties, Kerrville City Council adopted a sweeping revision of the zoning code on Tuesday.
The rewrite has been in the works since late 2018 and includes numerous changes, such as cutting down the number of zones from 49 to 17. The code before was unclear and difficult to navigate, said consultant Mark Bowers of Kimley-Horn, who helped with the project.
One of the main goals of the rewrite was to reduce the number of non-conformities — properties that don’t align with the code. Nonetheless, non-conformities are bound to happen with this drastic of a change, Bowers said.
Drew Paxton, the executive director of development services, said he has no idea how many people may come forward with non-conforming property issues, but four of them got up to speak at the council meeting Tuesday.
“We have paid taxes on this property as a commercial property for about 15 or 16 years,” said resident at former mayor Bonnie White. “Such a property is being proposed as (light commercial), which drastically reduces the allowed uses for our particular property.”
She said she wants to change the property so that it is classified in a different type of zone that gives her the freedom to use the property for a wider variety of things, such as a new police station.
Another, Stephen King, said that the new zoning in G Street also creates several non-conformities.
But multiple council members said they still feel like it’s important to move forward with the new code even with these issues still at play, including Place 1 Gary Cochrane, Place 2 Kim Clarkson and Place 3 Judy Eychner.
“It’s been a long, drawn- out process,” Cochrane said. “I think at this point in time, it’s time for us to move forward to pass the ordinance as presented. There’s going to be issues.”
Mayor Bill Blackburn said that in the name of the big picture, it’s important not to get caught up trying to make council decisions on every property that turns out to have a non-conformity. Rather, residents should bring their issues to Paxton.
That means working with him to examine the property’s situation in comparison to the Kerrville 2050 Future Land Use Plan, which guides land use over the next 30 years, and the old zoning code and finding a balance between the two.
“(We might) recommend changes for those properties or changes specific to the code,” Paxton said.
There is a six-month window in which residents and city staff can work together to see if any of the new code changes need adjustments.
Paxton added that adjusting the code for each case of non-conformity could take around three months.
Those with non-conformity issues can contact the development services department at 830-258-1514.