By KEFF CIARDELLO
KYLE – The Kyle City Council met for the first time in 2009 Tuesday night to address a smattering of procedural matters, such as committee appointments and road decisions, mostly concerning public safety.
To begin, the council unanimously approved the appointments of Lila Knight, Don Brooks and Glen Whitaker to the public safety committee. Councilmember Becky Selbera, who chairs the committee, made the nominations with the firm support of Mayor Miguel Gonzalez.
“We want to get more citizens involved in the process because there are people who want to serve but don’t have the desire to actually run for office,” Gonzalez said. “I told the chairs of the committees that they should stock they’re committees with people they think will help the community. I happen to know all three of them (Brooks, Whitaker and Knight), and they are good people. I feel they will be a good fit.”
Another matter is the designation of traffic lanes on eastbound Kyle Parkway, going from Jack C. Hays Trail towards Interstate-35 at the city’s future retail center. The parkway going east ran to a dead end at the interstate up until last month, when the city opened an extension running further east into the Seton Hospital development. Though the hospital is scheduled to open in about a year, the associated retail component will open for business as early as this fall.
The city will paint the lines on eastbound Kyle Parkway near the junction with I-35 to reflect the new option for drivers to go straight through the intersection.
“Traffic lines on the bridge were striped to show a dead end in the road because it used to make a T,” City Manager Tom Mattis said. “Now, it’s possible to go straight and, since the bridge is big enough to allow a third lane, the old lines will be scratched off and re-stripped.”
The retail component of the Seton Hospital development will be part of two million square feet of retail at the intersection, which also will include a shopping complex to include a Kohl’s and Target across the interstate. A Lowe’s at the intersection is scheduled to open in late February, and the Kohl’s is scheduled for a March opening. Mattis said those two stores should add about 300 jobs to Kyle’s economy.
To bring its alcohol permitting regulations in line with state code, the council repealed its own ordinance in favor of a new measure requiring a renewal every two years. Until now, the city has required annual renewals for $150. Under the new regulation, businesses seeking renewals would pay that fee every other year.
The council also passed an ordinance creating wireless telecommunication facility standards.
“Wireless internet is a bit tricky because it’s not something you necessarily see,” said Gonzalez, “This allows us to set guidelines for where towers are located and to make sure their operations don’t infringe on the health and wellness of the citizens. It’s a natural extension of public safety; local enforcement on federal regulations.”
In another development, the council unanimously appointed Naomi Harris to an unexpired term on the Planning and Zoning Commission (P&Z).
On the planning front, Mattis said the city is considering an increase in building permit fees, though not because of a drop-off in the number of building permits issued by the city. Kyle issued only 401 building permits in 2008, which even undercuts the projection of 464 issued by city staff in late October.
Kyle issued an average of 979 building permits per year from 2002 through 2006, peaking at 1,220 in 2004. That average annual number of 2002-06 building permits tops Kyle’s combined total for 2007 and 2008, which came to 962.
“This is just another challenge of growth,” said Mattis.