By KERRY CRAIG
News-Telegram Staff Writer
When Sulphur Springs City Council meets in regular session Tuesday evening, a proposed ordinance that was expected to be on the agenda for Tuesday's Sulphur Springs City Council meeting regarding the downtown area does will not be discussed, according to City Manager Marc Maxwell.
Maxwell said a number of people said they were unaware of the ordinance and more time will be allowed for it to be studied.
“Out of an abundance of caution, we're going to pause a bit and sent out notices to all of the property owners in the central commercial district to make sure they have plenty of opportunity to know about it before we have the first reading on the ordinance,” he said.
The proposed ordinance would limit any new businesses in buildings that are currently vacant, Maxwell explained.
“It will limit any new businesses in buildings which area currently vacant to retail on the ground level up at the sidewalk,” he said. It would still leave the second level, if there is one, and the back of the building available to be professional office space or residential.”
Maxwell said the ordinance, if passed, would affect only about 20 buildings in the downtown area.
The city manager said the purpose of the ordinance would be to push retail growth.
“The desire is, and I think is fairly unanimous across the community, to be a downtown destination. We are at a point where we've only got 20 buildings that are vacant and, if they all fill up with something other than retail, we've shot ourselves in the foot,” he explained. “That's not how you get to being a destination downtown so, the idea is to pause and, for the next five years as the ordinance is written, allow only retail at the sidewalk and then the ordinance would expire in five years and the market would handle the rest.”
The council will, however, hear on second reading an ordinance reducing speed limits on that portion of League Street/Arbala Road, between West Shannon Drive and Wildcat Way.
Because the street in that area is controlled by the Texas Department of Transportation, the limits have already been lowered and the city's ordinance will simply adopt the speeds set by the state.
Council will also discuss a final plat for property at 1321 Vaughn Drive to create a building site.
The council will consider a contract for a meter belt press for the wastewater treatment plant.
Maxwell said the meter belt press is a rather expensive but necessary piece of equipment and will replace one that has worn out.
The council will meet at 7 p.m. Tuesday in the Council Room, 125 South Davis Street.
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