By Mason W. Canales

Killeen Daily Herald

HARKER HEIGHTS – The Harker Heights City Council advised city staff to move forward on drafting an ordinance concerning permits for issues that are temporary in nature.

"I would like you to draft an ordinance, and then we can take a look at it," Councilman Mike Aycock said after discussing several issues brought up that could fall under temporary-use permits.

The issue discussed with the most length was the use of temporary large metal storage containers for a period that seems longer than temporary.

"I have seen a lot of commercial operations where (storage containers) have become permanent," Aycock said.

There also have been incidents where residents have used them as fences or even buildings by putting a roof over two of them, Aycock said.

The council questioned how the containers would differ and be used if they classified them as a structure.

"If we called them a structure, they would not be allowed in our city," Planning and Development Director Tommy Garcia said.

Buildings are not allowed to be made out of metal, according to the city's code, and then people would have to use certain setbacks to place them in their yard or on commercial property, Garcia said.

Currently, someone using the containers for a more permanent use does not have to follow the same guidelines as someone who is building a storage shed, which is a conflict, Garcia said.

Councilman Spencer Smith said if the city was going to permit the use of such containers, it should set a time limit and the city has to come up with a way of enforcing the usage of the containers.

"You have to have a mechanism to track it," Smith said.

Time could be addressed during an applicationprocess for a permit, Assistant City Manager Patty Brunson said. The applicants would just state the time period they wanted.

"What we would do if we did come up with something, is come up with some type of application process," City Manager Steve Carpenter said.

The council also discussed addressing issues pertaining to seasonal sales on developed and undeveloped lots and construction offices.

"We just want to make sure they are good neighbors," Garcia said.

At the end of the discussion, Garcia said he would bring a draft of an ordinance back to the council for further discussion.

The council also:

Discussed a presentation about National Incident Management System Training.

Held a closed meeting to discuss commercial or financial information that the council received from a business prospect that may locate, stay or expand in the city; and with which the council is conducting economic development negotiations on property located in the general area of the U.S. Highway 190 corridor between the Rosewood Retirement Center and The Shops at Modoc.

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