The Navasota City Council met in Regular Session Monday, May 13, swearing-in two returning city council members. Unopposed for Positions 4 and 5 respectively, Bert Miller and Grant Holt took the oath of office administered by retiring judge, John LeFlore, in his last official act as a municipal court judge.
After the swearing-in, council members presented Judge LeFlore with a plaque and gavel.
Mayor Bert Miller said, “I’m very proud to have been a part of the team that was here while he was here. We are sad to see him go…thank you Judge for your great service to the community.”
LeFlore shared his regard for the city staff and city council and said, “Nobody knows how much this plaque means to me…this is really sentimental to me.”
Following the ceremony, councilmembers re-elected Miller as Mayor of Navasota and Holt as Mayor Pro Tem.
After a lengthy public hearing, council members declined to act on the first reading of Ordinance 889-19, amending Chapter 10, Subdivision Regulation, Article 10.02 Subdivision Ordinance, Exhibit A Subdivision Development, Article 7. No developers with projects along SH 6 were present to comment.
The current ordinance allows developers to opt out of the sidewalk requirement and pay a fee-in-lieu-of sidewalks in circumstances, such as along SH 6, where constructing a sidewalk isn’t considered feasible. To-date, fees have been paid by two developers and have been placed in a sidewalk fund for construction of sidewalks in other parts of town or at that location at a later date. The proposed amendment would remove the sidewalk requirement altogether and refund fees paid thus far.
In Navasota there is approximately 5 miles (26,500 linear feet) of north-south frontage of which 315 linear feet has sidewalks. Existing businesses without sidewalks comprise 3.4 miles leaving 1.6 miles of undeveloped frontage where sidewalks could potentially be constructed.
Discussion focused on community walkability throughout town, sidewalk safety along SH 6 and long-range planning. Citing a need for sidewalks along SH 6, councilman Geoff Horn and Planning and Zoning chairman Randy Peters spoke of the frequent foot traffic they witness along the SH 6 feeder roads.
According to Community Development Director Lupe Diosdado who researched neighboring cities, sidewalks are not being required along SH 6 for safety reasons that include the rate of speed of cars entering and exiting driveways.
The companion agenda item, Ordinance 890-19 related to sidewalks in the Zoning ordinance also died for a lack of a motion.
Council approved the first reading of Ordinance 891-19, a budget amendment moving $120,000 from Reserves to Street and Sidewalk Repair for the sidewalk project currently in progress in the 100 block of W. Washington. The funds will cover planters, trees and tree wells or lighting, items not covered by grant funding. City Manager Brad Stafford was optimistic that at the end of the fiscal year, revenue will be sufficient to replenish the funds.
On a vote of 4-1, with Mayor Bert Miller voting no, council approved Change Order No. 3 in the amount of $2,215.00 to install a self-supporting equipment rack for electric service, lighting controls and irrigation controls instead of attaching to a building currently under development in the Railroad Street alleyway. This change order brings the contract price for the 2017 Texas Capital Fund/ Downtown Revitalization Program sidewalk project to $429, 002.00, a cumulative increase of 14.554 percent.
Council approved rezoning four properties in the Piedmont/SH 6 area to B-2, General Business District, single structure, uses over 50,000 SF and one property to B-1, General Business District. The 85.37 acres affected were previously zoned all, or in part, A/O, Agriculture Open Space District.
Other council action:
•Mayor Miller presented proclamations recognizing National Nursing Home Week, National Police Week and the 50th anniversary of Municipal Clerks Week.
•Approved the goals and priorities for Fiscal Year 2019-2020 set by council and staff at the Feb. 11 retreat.
•Approved consent agenda items that included the minutes and expenditures for the month of April and the second reading of Ordinance 887-19 denying the distribution cost recovery factor rate increase to Entergy Texas, Inc.
•Navasota High School senior Erica Grifaldo was presented a scholarship by the Arts Council of the Brazos Valley.
•More than 100 parents and children participated in Kid Fish.
•More than 100 signed in for the 18th Annual Keep Navasota Beautiful Trash Off.
•Ninety-eight pounds of drugs were collected during NPD’s Take Back Drugs event.
•New employees introduced – Patrolman Michael Stover, Navasota Police Department; Alicia Zemanek and Claudia Bixel, the Navasota Public Library; William Moore, city manager intern from the Bush School at Texas A&M University.
•May 18, Saturday – First Responders Day, 10 a.m. – noon at City Hall.
•May 16-May 19, Thursday – Sunday, “Greater Tuna” at the Navasota Theatre Alliance.
•May 18, Saturday - Joey McGee performs at The Gallery Downtown, 8 p.m.
•June 11, Tuesday - Blood Drive