Heights council tables temporary building ordinance

Herald/Steven Doll - A temporary trailer sits on the construction site of the new Harker Heights Animal Shelter Tuesday. The ordinance, if it was passed, would have limited the use of temporary construction offices, trailers and storage containers.

By Mason W. Canales

Killeen Daily Herald

HARKER HEIGHTS - The City Council Tuesday tabled an ordinance that would limit the use of storage containers on commercial and residential properties after numerous comments in a public hearing.

"It is not soup yet," Mayor Ed Mullen said after the council voted to take the issue back to workshop meetings.

While the ordinance also contained regulations for seasonal sales and construction offices and trailers, the council only heard complaints about the drafted regulations on storage containers located on commercial properties.

"(A storage container) has been there for two years; we want a rule we can comply with," said Erwin Hunter, a representative of the Armed Forces E9 Association. "Throwing it away is not an answer."

The E9 association's 8-foot-by-8-foot-by-20-foot metal storage container has been on the property for numerous years, Hunter said. There is no power running to the container, and it used to store equipment such as lawnmowers.

The drafted ordinance would limit the use of such storage containers to a

temporary use and it would have to be removed after a maximum of 90 days.

A Fort Hood Harley-Davidson representative also gave complaints.

The motorcycle dealership has used two similar metal storage containers to store part of its inventory, the representative said. The containers are always kept up and are constantly used for short-term vehicle storage, he added.

No one has ever complained about seeing the containers, he mentioned.

About five other Harker Heights business representatives fielded complaints during the meeting. Only two residents spoke in favor of the ordinance.

"My concern is having to live in a residential area and having to look at this," Alice Sifuentes said, passing a picture of a large metal storage container to the council.

After hearing all sides of the argument, the council was determined to take the issue back to workshop.

"I am not comfortable with what we are looking at here," Councilman Sam Murphey said. "It doesn't seem to address the concerns we were hoping for."

The council should still look at addressing the issue of businesses and residents using storage containers as permanent structures because they are cheaper than following the city's ordinance on permanent structures, Councilman John Reider said.

"I can see this becoming a bigger and bigger problem," Reider said.

"It is not a good situation when a we have (something used for) 20 years as a temporary," Councilman Pat Christ said.

Councilmen Spencer Smith and Rob Robinson attempted to pass the seasonal and construction office portion of the ordinance, but the motion failed by three votes.

The whole ordinance will be discussed at a future workshop.

The council also:

Added one yield sign at Roy Reynolds Drive and Business 190.

Abandoned a 20-foot-wide utility easement located along Lots 1, 2, and 5C, of Block A, Market Heights Addition.

Changed the zoning designation from a one-family dwelling district to a rural one-family dwelling district on property at 2839 Comanche Gap Road.

Awarded a contract for the Cedar Knob Generator Project to T. Morales Company.

Approved the preliminary plat of KC Stars Addition, a one-lot subdivision of about 2.4 acres.

Conducted a closed meeting to deliberate on commercial or financial information the council received from a business prospect the governmental body seeks to have locate, stay or expand in the general area of the U.S. Highway 190 corridor between Rosewood Retirement Center and The Shops at Modoc and in or near the general area of Farm-to-Market 2410 and Verna Lee Boulevard.

Contact Mason W. Canales at mcanales@kdhnews.com or (254) 501-7554. Follow him on Twitter at KDHheights.

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