By Joshua Winata

The Cove Herald

The city of Copperas Cove is reclaiming its streets with a new proposed ordinance presented at a workshop session Tuesday.

The new ordinance, complied by Streets Department Supervisor James Trevino and City Attorney James Thompson, targets large, commercial trucks passing through town on city-maintained roads.

Thompson said that these vehicles cause “inordinate” damage to local streets yet give nothing back to the city.

“We don’t gain any economic benefit from it,” Thompson said. “The citizens have to pay for it.”

Because companies do pay taxes to the state, the ordinance requires large commercial vehicles to instead utilize state-controlled roadways.

City Manager Andrea Gardner said staff has conferred with the Texas Department of Transportation, which approves of the proposal. Council members also recommended consulting with Fort Hood garrison officials about the change since companies with multiyear transport contracts with the military post frequently pass through the city.

Among state-maintained streets available to through trucks are U.S. Highway 190 and Farm-to-Market 116, FM 1113, FM 3046 and FM 2657.

Trevino said the ordinance is the simplest solution to the problem of wear and tear on city streets, which has been researched extensively by his department, without impeding business.

As defined in the ordinance, the new measures affect only large commercial vehicles passing through town without a destination and exclude pickup trucks, emergency vehicles, construction equipment, delivery trucks and other such vehicles.

The new ordinance makes travel down city streets for through trucks a Class C misdemeanor punishable with a $200 fine.

Gardner and Thompson said the city will post signs and orange flags to alert vehicles to the new regulations.

The workshop was only part of a long process to overhaul the city’s code of ordinances. Tuesday’s session follows two other workshops held this month to discuss revisions to portions of the code.

The fencing ordinances were reviewed by Interim City Planner Scott Wallace with the City Council on Jan. 10. Many of the changes were in response to citizen and developer complaints about the stringent setback requirements that cause residents to lose large portions of their yard, Wallace said.

“They may take away from the character of the neighborhood,” he said. “You do want some open thoroughfares, but maybe not to this extent where it’s so wide open that you’re actually vulnerable.”

Wallace added that the restrictions particularly affect corner lots, which he said are frequently considered “the jewels of your subdivision,” because they reduce the properties’ primary asset: size.

Gardner added that many property owners use the setback yard space as storage for lawnmowers, air conditioning units, bicycles, toys and other outdoor equipment, which “might be considered an eyesore” for the neighborhood. Allowing them to extend their fences to the property line gives residents a place to store items out of public view, she said.

Recommended changes include:

Prohibiting barbed wire on fences from extend beyond the property line or below the top of the fence and requiring barbed wire to be placed more than six feet above adjacent ground.

Extending the maximum height on fences from six feet to six feet and four inches.

Permitting back-to-back corner lots to extend their fences to the exterior property line so long as as a 15-foot setback is observed in addition to the required 25-foot front yard. The ordinance currently requires a 15-foot side yard setback area on all lots.

Requiring a 10-foot setback parallel to primary driveways in exterior side yards to give drivers backing into the street a clear sight line toward incoming traffic.

“All of this in my opinion has to do with the safety and welfare of our community,” Wallace said.

In addition to fencing ordinances, revisions to the animal and fowl ordinances were compiled by Copperas Cove Animal Control and the Animal Shelter Advisory Committee and presented by Deputy Chief Mike Heintzelman at a council workshop on Jan. 3. That same evening, the council also appointed a code enforcement ordinance review committee, which is will begin its work this month with a deadline projected for April.

Contact Joshua Winata at at (254) 547-6481

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