Various ordinances presented at city meeting

May 18, 2013

The Sweetwater City Commission once again took a look at the city ordinance on storage containers during their meeting on Tuesday at City Hall.
Chapter 18 of the Code of Ordinances, entitled "Miscellaneous Provisions and Offenses," dealt with allowing freight and portable storage containers in certain zoning districts. The ordinance was previously passed, but after a request by the commissioners, it was reconsidered by the city to make it more business friendly.
The original ruling was that the containers needed to be painted and anchored, but a concern was raised that some containers are only used on temporary job sites. But with 65 containers already in town, the amendment would allow for more container industrial zones K, L and M within the city.
Thus, four containers could be spaced four feet apart (for mowing purposes). All permanent containers would need to be anchored and painted, while temporary containers--like those used in construction--would need to be registered with the city.
Although these changes were posed by the city, City Manager Eddie Brown felt that they would be hard to maintain. However, the amended ordinance added that containers cannot be stacked and used for dwelling purposes.
While the complaints were first heard in the K zone--which is mainly near Interstate 20, all three zones are under the same guidelines. Even though zones L and M--located mostly at the city entrances--are at a higher level, exceptions cannot be made for one particular zone.
Because of the continued discussions, approval was given to table the item. It will be considered once again at the May 31 meeting, which will include a Strategic Planning retreat that will deal with zoning, among other concerns.
Ordinances on recreational vehicles and RV parks were also read and approved. A second reading was conducted, which adopted the ordinance amending Chapter 17 of the Code of Ordinances, which is entitled "Licenses and Business Regulations."
The change will provide uniform development of RV parks, as definitions, standards and construction requirements were laid out during the first reading at last month's meeting.
Additionally, approval was given on the first reading to change Chapter 19 of the city's code of ordinances--"Motor Vehicles and Traffic", through the amendment of Article 6 ("Stopping, Standing and Parking"), Division I ("Generally"), Section 19-171 ("Parking of Trailers; Mobile Recreation Equipment on Public Property or Streets") in order to define mobile recreation equipment. The language was clarified to help the local police department enforce the ordinance.
Initially discussed during the February meeting, the change will specify the 72-hour parking period for a recreational vehicle. While loading and unloading can take place in this time frame, the section outlines that people cannot park and live in the RV in a residential area.
Furthermore, an emergency reading was conducted and approved on an ordinance adopting the rate schedule for Atmos Energy.
The rate schedule RRM (rate review mechanism) will now be used, as the Atmos Steering Committee decided it was the best way to deal with increases. As an emergency reading, only one reading must be conducted.
The new schedule was negotiated between Atmos and the committee; Sweetwater is one of over 150 cities in Texas on the steering committee.
Also during the meeting, the second reading and adoption of two amended ordinances were approved. Chapters 17 and 10 of the city's code of ordinances, entitled "Buildings and Construction" and "Fire Prevention and Protection," respectively, will adopt more current editions of certain model codes. Both ordinances held the first reading at last month's meeting.

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