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And council said, 'let there be light!'

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    Pictured, left to right: Human Resources Director Peggy Johnson and Mayor Bert Miller recognize City Secretary Susie Homeyer for 40 years of service to the City of Navasota. Examiner photo by Ana Cosino
  • Article Image Alt Text
    Pictured, left to right: Human Resources Director Peggy Johnson and Mayor Bert Miller present NPD Records Clerk Geralyn Backhus with a certificate recognizing 20 years of service to the City of Navasota. Examiner photo by Ana Cosino

Following a public hearing, the Navasota City Council approved a variance request at its April 9 Regular Meeting to allow the installation of an LED programmable sign by the First Presbyterian Church, 302 Nolan Street.

Mayor Bert Miller’s motion to approve passed 4-1 with councilman Josh Fultz casting the dissenting vote. This action followed Fultz’s motion, seconded by councilman Grant Holt, to deny the application which failed 2-3 with Miller and council members Bernie Gessner and Pattie Pederson voting nay.

According to Development Services Director Lupe Diosdado, the application to install a 32-square foot LED programmable sign on the southeast corner of Holland and S. LaSalle Street exceeds the maximum 24-square feet allowed by Chapter 3 of the City’s sign ordinance.

LED programmable signs are permitted in the B-1, General Business District but not in the Central Business District or Washington Avenue Overlay District.

During the public hearing, there was confusion about the interpretation of the ordinance and if the 24-square foot maximum pertained to just the programmable portion or the entire sign.

Speaking on behalf of FPC, Pastor Matt Morse explained the church wants visibility from that side of their property, signage people on busy S. LaSalle “don’t necessarily have to slow down to see,” and now that the church finally has the funds to purchase a sign, this was the one favored by the congregation.

According to Morse, while the sign face measures 32-square feet, the actual programmable portion measures 25.6-square feet exceeding the 24-square foot dimensions by only 1.6-square feet. The name “First Presbyterian Church” is stationary and not lighted.

Also speaking during public comments was Todd Wisner who lives on Holland Street facing the First Baptist Church’s LED programmable sign. Wisner pointed out that “these devices” are actually called Electronic Message Centers. He questioned the verbiage of the ordinance and suggested it didn’t’ take into account churches in residential neighborhoods. He also asked if the city has the ability to test the level of light for compliance and pointed out that First Baptist’s messaging display time is every five seconds which doesn’t comply with the ordinance’s 20-second minimum.

Angel’s amendment gets OK

In a unanimous vote, council approved the amended development plan submitted by Marco Castaneda on behalf of Angel’s Car Wash for the construction of a wrought iron fence at 804 E. Washington Avenue. This comes after his application to allow for vehicular sales failed to be either approved or denied at the April 11 public hearing and city council meeting.

Councilman Bernie Gessner praised Castaneda’s “persistence despite the odds” saying, “He’s worked with the City, and his interest is our interest, and that is to make his business property and property on E. Washington Avenue much more aesthetically pleasing.”

Other council action:

•Approved Consent Agenda items which included the minutes and expenditures for April 2022 and the second reading of Ordinance No. 995-22 approving a zoning change for properties located at 808 Farquhar Street from R-1A to M-1 Light Industrial District.

Reports from City staff/ officials to council

•Service awards were presented to Records Clerk Geralyn Backhus for 20 years of employment and to City Secretary Susie Homeyer for 40 years.

•Received an update on capital improvements from Utilities Director Jennifer Reyna.

•Received a Library activities update from Library Director Tiffany Sammons.

•Mayor Bert Miller presented Proclamations for Economic Development Week, National Public Works Week, Public Service Recognition Week and National Police Week.

•Received a board and commission report from the council quarterly liaison to Planning and Zoning Commission, Bernie Gessner.

View city council meetings in their entirety at www.navasotatx.gov/city-council/pages/meeting-videos.