The City Council wants to make the Mansfield a more attractive place for future residents and businesses.
The city’s leadership is reviewing several amendments to the city’s zoning ordinance including altering regulations to businesses’ signage and larger items on residential properties.
“We have an overall goal of trying to guide the city into a direction where we want to focus on quality of life, property value and a nice-looking city, a place that attracts residents that want to move here and spend money here,” councilman Stephen Lindsey said.
Lindsey is the code enforcement subcommittee chair that was established in 2013 to take a look at the city’s current regulations. He said after the council’s observations, complaints from residents and feedback from the city staff, the council wanted to make sure the city’s land usage standards were being met and update the zoning ordinance.
“The impetus was individual complaints from people that live here, ‘Hey stuff looks trashy, lawns are not mowed, my neighbor has a big RV that’s broken down right next to me,’” he said.
One of the proposed changes would prohibit homeowners from parking boats, motor homes, recreational vehicles and other such vehicles on a driveway between the side property line and the facade of a home. This is added to an amendment that prohibits the same kind of vehicle parking between a public street and facade of a home. The city will also remove the grandfathering of vehicles parked before March 28, 2006.
Planning Director Felix Wong added if a homeowner has fencing on the side of their home they will still be able to park their boats and other vehicles on the side of the house.
The council also wants to add a way for temporary parking.
Lindsey said the changes are not meant to be over-regulation, but a home or business can’t impact its neighbors.
“I don’t want to be told what I can do, but also if my neighbor has a boat that is 10 years old, never used, sitting there and unsightly, well do I have a concern that’s going to bring down my property value,” he said. “That’s a very specific example but it really relates to all of the code enforcement activity that we're looking at.”
Several of the amendments focus on regulating business signage.
One proposal would regulate signs within 25 inches of the internal side of a window as window signs.
Lindsey said some businesses are covering their windows and view into the building with signage that it could be a concern for first responders.
“If you can’t see into an establishment that may pose a safety threat,” he said. “First responders can’t see what’s going on in terms of safety.”
Another change would mandate businesses to fit their electronic message signs with technology that dims the sign to an industry standard. The amendment also adds wording for how to handle complaints with the signs.
Councilman Brent Newsom, who also served on code enforcement subcommittee, said the signs can be a safety hazard.
“There’s been occurrences when I’ve come around corners and it’s blinded me,” he said about the electronic signs at night. “For me, that is a safety issue.”
Wong said there are about 10 electronic signs in the city.
The City Council is also reviewing a proposal to keep promotional signs promotional and not permanent. The amendment limits promotional signs to certain types, including banners, balloons and blade flags. Businesses will allowed to have promotional signs twice, reduced from three times, in a calendar year. Promotional signage can be on display for 14 consecutive days.
The city council still has two more readings on each amendment change and plans to continue to refine the regulations.
Lindsey said the changes target several instances, but should not create a burden for homeowners and businesses in the city.
“The goal is to address the actions of a few without negatively impacting the actions of the law-abiding actions of the many,” he said.
Dustin L. Dangli, 817-390-7770