NEWS HEADLINES

Signs, sound, aviation stretch council meeting

By Bob Buckel | Published Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Monday night’s Decatur City Council meeting was lengthy by local standards, as the council dealt with variance requests, zoning changes and economic incentives (see separate stories) along with a healthy menu of somewhat routine items.

Among those was a request for a variance to the city’s sign ordinance by Amir Al Wani, owner of the Texaco at 1105 North Highway 81/287.

Al Wani has a pole sign at the location, but requested that the city also allow the installation of a monument sign – a lower, free-standing sign which will have electronic gas-price display as well as signs for the Subway and Mexican Tacos, both located within the Texaco building.

The city’s current ordinance reads that where a pole sign or a monument sign are installed, they are “in lieu of all other signs” according to Planning Director Dedra Ragland.

It was noted that the Texaco has a large frontage and two driveways, and some visibility issues because of topography and shrubbery on another property in the area.

“The staff has already revised the sign ordinance to allow two freestanding signs,” Ragland said. “We just haven’t brought it to you because we want to finish the Zoning Ordinance first.”

The large size of the property, the large amount of frontage and the obstruction to visibility in the area were cited in the motion as reasons for the exception.

SOUND SYSTEM OK’D

The council approved awarding a bid not to exceed $140,000 to install new sound, audio and lighting controls in the Decatur Civic Center.

Civic Center Director Lori Sherwood said the system should be installed within 120 days. It will be paid for by the Economic Development Corporation (EDC).

“This includes all screens in the great hall, with projectors in the ceiling,” she said. “It will give us the ability to have sound in each section when the great hall is divided – and it’s all iPad driven, with no running upstairs. All the controls will be in the light-switch pads and iPads.”

Sherwood said the installation should take about six weeks – in time for some key February events.

Irving-based Epic Resource Group will do the installation. They were the only bidder, but came highly recommended by people in the music business. Sherwood said six references were all excellent.

AVIATION ISSUES

The council voted to amend the city’s agreement with United Rotocraft, a helicopter outfitter located at Decatur Municipal Airport, to give them more time to reach the required number of employees in their $200,000 incentive contract with the EDC.

The five-year contract requires them to have an additional 50 employees by 2015 or reimburse the EDC. The company currently has 37 employees.

The current contract runs through 2015. The company asked the EDC and city council to extend it another five years, giving them until 2020 to add the required number of employees.

The council agreed.

They also renewed the contract of Decatur Jet Center, the city’s Fixed Base Operator (FBO) at Decatur Municipal Airport, extending it another 10 years. The FBO handles fuel sales and hangar rentals as well as a host of other airport issues.

Decatur Jet Center is poised to move into the newly-completed Hangar 600 at the airport and will lease out space in their current hangar.

The council also:

  • accepted the resignation of Bob Bastian from the Planning & Zoning Commission and reappointed Eddie Allen, Davey Edwards and Jim Eaton to two-year terms, expiring in October 2014;
  • appointed Lisa Caraway and J.D. Sifford to the Zoning Board of Adjustment, filling the seats vacated by Susan Cocanougher and Cecil Lemond. Sifford’s term will expire in October 2013, and Caraway’s term runs until October 2014.
  • appointed Scott Siegmund, CPA, to do the city’s annual outside audit for the coming year, noting that he is moving his office from Fort Worth to Decatur. This will be the last year he can do the audit, since the city’s charter calls for a 10-year limit on using the same auditor.
  • cancelled its next meeting due to the fact that it falls on Dec. 24, Christmas Eve.

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