Local Community News http://localcommunitynews.com Search Local Community News Fri, 15 Dec 2017 05:37:39 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.6.2 Mules at top of game with tennis program http://localcommunitynews.com/mules-top-game-tennis-program/ http://localcommunitynews.com/mules-top-game-tennis-program/#respond Tue, 05 Dec 2017 16:22:13 +0000 http://localcommunitynews.com/?p=3226 ALAMO HEIGHTS — Blair Drought-Villarreal collapsed on the Blossom Tennis Center court in exaltation as screaming teammates rushed toward her. The ensuing Oct. 27 congratulations from teammates, seconds after a victorious nail-biter, signaled Alamo Heights High School’s 23rd ascent to the state tournament, plus validation that head coach Larry Oxford has been doing the right thing… Read More

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ALAMO HEIGHTS — Blair Drought-Villarreal collapsed on the Blossom Tennis Center court in exaltation as screaming teammates rushed toward her.

The ensuing Oct. 27 congratulations from teammates, seconds after a victorious nail-biter, signaled Alamo Heights High School’s 23rd ascent to the state tournament, plus validation that head coach Larry Oxford has been doing the right thing for years.

It was during a changeover that Drought-Villarreal — the lowest-seeded girl competing in singles play from the Mules’ varsity team — realized she’d be contesting the decisive points to determine whether a November trip to Texas A&M University at College Station was in the offing.

“I looked over and saw everybody watching me, and I was like, ‘It’s down to me,’” the junior said.

“The hardest thing to teach is how to finish a match,” said Oxford, who preaches, “Get the ball to go where you want it to go, under pressure.”

With her team’s playoff hopes resting on Drought-Villarreal’s skill, coaches said the 16-year-old displayed maturity beyond her age.

“I felt like I aged about 10 years in that one day — just how intense it was,” said  Mules assistant coach Dave Henkel, 29. “Everybody calls her ‘The Beast’ because she just wins when the pressure’s on.”

“Winning that match just shows I can handle pressure,” Drought-Villarreal added.       

The way this regional final played out was déjà vu. A season ago, in the remaining match, the girl on the bottom rung from Alamo Heights also narrowly conquered her Dripping Springs High School opposition, last year’s and this year’s foe, to seal advancement to state.

The current fall team format is actually the brainchild of an Alamo Heights tennis first family.

Larry Oxford, alongside older brother Terry, a former Mules coach, conceived the rules adopted by UIL in 1983. Two schools contest seven doubles matches — three boys, three girls and one mixed — and 12 singles, six by each gender. Playing two-out-of-three sets, the first institution with 10 individual triumphs wins. The scoring is unique; it’s the only sport combining results from both sexes into one composite.

Larry Oxford relishes the spirit of camaraderie.

“The boys and girls travel together, practice together; cheer each other on. It’s neat to try to mold a team together of far different skill levels, ages, commitment to the sport. … It makes the No. 6 (seed) equally important as the No. 1.”

Although the Mules eventually lost in the Class 5A finals in 2016, and the semifinals this season, Alamo Heights has accrued a dozen state championships in team tennis, and arguably could be crowned the king of the court, possessing one of the most dynastic reigns of all Texas high schools.

At the Nov. 16 Alamo Heights Independent School District board meeting, this year’s varsity tennis team was recognized with a metaphorical victory lap.

“Our community believes we have a strong program that’s going to be competitive every year — makes a lot of demands on the players,” Oxford said. “I think people appreciate the level of excellence we’ve had over a long period of years.”

Oxford is in his second stint coaching the Mules. He controlled the reins for much of the 1970s and 1980s, but left to pursue a law degree.

A return to the fold managing the Alamo Heights Tennis Center in 2000, piloting the school’s tennis program once again in 2007, and teaching Spanish at Robbins Academy, AHISD’s nontraditional high school, was a vision come true, although he initially balked at the idea — until he slept on it.

“I had a dream. In the dream, I won the lottery and was now independently wealthy,” Oxford said, and told his boss, ‘“I’m out of here,’ took off my tie and went straight to the tennis courts and started hitting tennis balls. And I woke up and I said, ‘I’m not independently wealthy, but if I were, I’d go to the tennis courts the rest of my life.’”

So, with a message “from the good man upstairs” received, his fantasy became a reality.                

“Oxford is a staple in the San Antonio tennis community and his tenure in our district continues to show year in and year out his ability to put together one of the top teams in the state,” said Jennifer Roland, AHISD athletic director   

Oxford’s first-year assistant calls his mentor “a legend.” Henkel, a three-year varsity player at Clemens High School, couldn’t beat ‘em, so he joined ‘em.

“Alamo Heights has always been a tough match. When I was in high school it was always, ‘You’re going to get blown out by Alamo Heights,’ and it’s still pretty much the case,” Henkel said.

The writer has a child who plays for the team.

   

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Buyer sought for toilet-seat museum http://localcommunitynews.com/buyer-sought-toilet-seat-museum/ http://localcommunitynews.com/buyer-sought-toilet-seat-museum/#respond Tue, 05 Dec 2017 16:15:18 +0000 http://localcommunitynews.com/?p=3222 ALAMO HEIGHTS — Last June, when 96-year-old folk artist Barney Smith announced he was selling his Toilet Seat Art Museum’s collection, the world took notice. Dozens of news outlets covered the story. A book featuring 400 of Smith’s toilet seat plaques is planned for next spring. Clorox launched an online selection of 42 favorites, including… Read More

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ALAMO HEIGHTS — Last June, when 96-year-old folk artist Barney Smith announced he was selling his Toilet Seat Art Museum’s collection, the world took notice.

Dozens of news outlets covered the story. A book featuring 400 of Smith’s toilet seat plaques is planned for next spring. Clorox launched an online selection of 42 favorites, including “Spoon Handle Turkey,” with dozens of utensils affixed to a wooden commode in place of feathers.

While several bids have come in, friends and family said none are substantial enough, nor have they fulfilled Smith’s wish to keep his collection together and nearby.

“We have had several offers, but daddy really wants somebody local,” said Julia Murders, Smith’s 69-year-old daughter. “We don’t want it to leave the state of Texas, but (so far) all of his offers are from China, Germany and other countries.”

Despite the museum’s quirky, off-beat appeal, many said the retired master plumber’s folk art should be taken seriously.

“It’s a fine collection of Americana and even history throughout the world,” said longtime neighbor Erica Becvar. “There are cars all over the place, and they all have the same reaction — just the delight and interest that comes across (visitors’) faces.”

Mayor Bobby Rosenthal called it “one of the most unique collections in the country.”

He added, “ It truly is a classic and I give (Smith)  a lot of credit for creating them, restoring them, and maintaining them, and showing them to the public because there are not many collections like that.”

Indeed, since the free-of-charge museum opened in 1992, after a fellow artist alerted reporters to Smith’s collection, about 25,000 people from the U.S. and 81 countries have flocked to the tin-roofed garage behind Smith’s home at 239 Abiso Ave.

Visits are by appointment only; for more, call 210-824-7791.

“I know it’s a big draw. If you look on just a standard Google Map… (on) the map of Alamo Heights, the toilet museum shows up the way the McNay (Art Museum) does.” — Mark Harlien

Carye Bye, an artist volunteering as Smith’s assistant for more than a year, and who ran her own museum of bathtub art in Portland, Oregon, for 15 years, thinks Smith’s contribution is significant.

“He’s actually part of the economy,” she said. “People come out to the museum, go get dinner. I think (city leaders) should really step up their game, in my opinion, and be like, ‘We want to keep this. This is important to our community.’”

The subject hasn’t come up at City Hall, Rosenthal said.

“Would the city spend city dollars to buy it from him or preserve it? It’s nothing we’ve really considered,” the mayor said. “We’ve never thought of it, actually. I’m not sure where you would house it, where the city or anybody would house it. But we would love to see it preserved and would consider anything depending on what’s involved because it is unbelievable.”

The collection includes 1,325 toilet seats documenting everything from wedding anniversaries Smith celebrated with his wife of 74 years before she died in 2014, to one featuring a piece of NASA’s space shuttle Challenger.

However, despite his age and arthritis, Smith is constantly finding new pieces.

“I could work day and night — mostly night,” he said. “I can put a toilet seat down on my chair and I can work on it until I get so tired and sleepy, until I’m going in the wrong direction with my Moto Drill, or I’m painting something, and I get over where I’m not even supposed to be, but I’m asleep.”

Smith, a quintessential recycler, said he began using toilet seats as plaques about 50 or 60 years ago after grabbing a few unused ones from a pile by a plumbing supply company’s dumpster. That night, he decorated a lid with a sketch of someone doing judo kicks, which several employees of the company were involved with at the time.

“I took it back to the plumbing supply house, and the next day I said, ‘Here’s what I wanted to do with these toilet seats out here.’ (The employee) said, ‘That’s good. If you’re not going to put them together and sell some of them, if you’re going to do artwork on them, take them all.’”

Since then, hundreds of others have donated materials for Smith’s toilet seats.

“Everybody who comes to visit becomes part of the exhibit, even if it’s just signing the logbook, or oftentimes, he will break out a toilet seat for you to sign,” said Becvar, whose father, Ben Allen Krause, presented the artist with a piece of a toilet from Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein’s bunker.

Krause, a retired Navy commander, got the fragment while stationed in Iraq in 2004.

“I saw this piece of a toilet seat, and I said, ‘I’m going to get that for Barney,’ and Barney made a plaque, and I gave him a letter of authenticity,” he said.

For many, the draw of the museum is not only the artwork, but Smith himself.

“He is a true San Antonio treasure, something that makes this city unique,” said resident Allen Rindfuss, who organized a surprise party for the artist’s 95th birthday on May 25, 2016, and was instrumental in getting Alamo Heights to proclaim Barney Smith Day.  “In many ways, the exhibition, the artwork experience is secondary to watching him light up and start telling stories.”

Rindfuss and Bye are working together to interview Smith and record his stories. They are looking to join forces with other like-minded people to find a new, permanent home for the collection — perhaps even a new museum of folk art in Alamo Heights for Smith, and others like him.

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Infill leads to zoning woes in older neighborboods http://localcommunitynews.com/infill-leads-zoning-woes-older-neighborboods/ http://localcommunitynews.com/infill-leads-zoning-woes-older-neighborboods/#respond Tue, 05 Dec 2017 16:08:14 +0000 http://localcommunitynews.com/?p=3219 Preservationists are questioning whether a zoning rule that allows extra homes to be built on lots near the city’s center isn’t also damaging the historical integrity of older neighborhoods. Large lots with small houses or no structures at all in more established neighborhoods ringing downtown have become some of the most desirable properties for development… Read More

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Preservationists are questioning whether a zoning rule that allows extra homes to be built on lots near the city’s center isn’t also damaging the historical integrity of older neighborhoods.

Large lots with small houses or no structures at all in more established neighborhoods ringing downtown have become some of the most desirable properties for development in the city.

Proponents of the practice say building homes for as many as 33 families per acre where only a few houses once stood is helping fill the growing demand for housing closer to an increasingly vibrant downtown and near-downtown.

Some residents, however, say while they welcome responsible development of under-utilized or abandoned spaces, they have become increasingly concerned by the overuse of Infill Development Zoning. They say IDZ at times packs the streets with cars and crams lots with buildings that don’t look like they belong.

As more requests come to the city’s Zoning Commission for IDZ classifications, San Antonio is in the midst of several public-input hearings and a task force has been assigned to explore the issue.

“We’re glad the city is doing something about it. Even though the issue is being examined, a slew of new zoning applications are coming in under the IDZ rules first put in place in 2001.”

Michael said sometimes the zoning revision is being requested simply to get out of the parking requirements under residential zoning more standard to the neighborhood.

In the most recent issue of the organization’s newsletter, The Preservation Advocate, Michael characterized IDZ as “a zoning classification that has taken over the city like kudzu” because it allows for higher density of housing with lesser setbacks from the street and relaxed parking-space requirements.

The original intent of creating the zoning classification was an incentive to fill vacant lots in blighted neighborhoods and re-energize them.

“Now, however, IDZ has become the default zoning application even in upscale neighborhoods and many are using the site plan, setback and parking giveaways to create dense projects that disrupt neighborhood scale and rhythm,” Michael writes. “Does IDZ mean ‘Infinite Density Zoning?’ It seems every new project within Loop 410 is coming in as IDZ rather than regular zoning.”

He said some groups are working hard to preserve the character of their neighborhoods, while others are more hands-off.

That sometimes leads to the building of several three-story structures of modern design amid one-story homes built in the 1930s, Michael said in an interview. Not building as densely doesn’t mean developers won’t turn a profit as long as demand is high, it just may be to a lesser degree.

“The city’s going to be in growth mode for the next generation, so developers aren’t going to lose money inside Loop 410 for at least 20 years,” Michael said.

For the developers’ part, they see a need for new housing in established neighborhoods and have the means to carve out new housing clusters in former industrial spaces on the edges of neighborhoods.

For example, the longtime manufacturing site of Flasher Equipment is moving to the West Side and putting up its land on West Josephine Street for IDZ consideration. The area is commercial property on both sides of the street and links Broadway to North St. Mary’s Street, and borders the Tobin Hill neighborhood.

Going from manufacturing to high-density housing, retail and entertainment is different than packing dense housing in the middle of an old residential neighborhood. It is an example of the kind of urban redevelopment for which IDZ was intended, proponents say.

SOJO Urban Development is building 30 townhomes in the next few years on 1.3 acres it bought from Flasher Equipment earlier. Most of the larger projects of eight or more units on infill land have been on the edge of neighborhoods or former commercial sites.

“I don’t ever blame developers, because they’re doing what they do,” said Cynthia Spielman, a resident of Beacon Hill and a leader in the Tier 1 Neighborhood Coalition, an alliance of 28 inner-city neighborhoods.

Where IDZ is misused, she said, is when the development is too dense or incompatible with the neighborhood in general.

In northern Tobin Hill where new housing took shape, an attempt to get a historic designation to block that development made it through the city’s Office of Historic Preservation, but was denied by City Council. Developers or absentee landowners already owned a fourth of the properties in the proposed district, she said.

“The use of IDZ as an incentive is a problem,” Spielman said. “It made things possible before, but its time is past.”

Dolly Holmes, president of the Monte Vista Historical Association, said it isn’t just IDZ at issue, but other zoning problems threatening to change neighborhoods.

The Monte Vista Historic District is a highly sought-after neighborhood, but there isn’t much land for infill development. A 9-acre property on the market a few years ago was platted for a gated Tuscan-style residential development that MVHA members believed didn’t fit the area. Ultimately, Trinity University bought the property and has been a good partner with the association, Holmes said.

In early November, the council approved a project to examine existing zoning to see if it matches the use; the end result is to change the zoning as needed. For example, Holmes said, there are some larger properties, mostly along Huisache Avenue, that have two or three cottages on large lots that are zoned for multifamily development for up to 33 units per acre, or MF-33. That needs to be changed before someone buys the land and alters the area, preservationists said.

One of those MF-33 zoned properties was slated for a 10-bedroom senior living facility, but that was stopped and now plans are being retooled, she said. For the most part, Holmes said, they have had good luck working with property owners doing infill developments.

“There are solutions and compromises that accommodate everybody,” she said.

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Christmas, New Year’s celebrations on tap http://localcommunitynews.com/christmas-new-years-celebrations-tap/ http://localcommunitynews.com/christmas-new-years-celebrations-tap/#respond Tue, 05 Dec 2017 16:02:35 +0000 http://localcommunitynews.com/?p=3217 In San Antonio, no place does the holiday season better than downtown and the world-famous River Walk. “What makes the holidays in San Antonio so special? Simple, it’s tradition,” said Maggie Thompson, executive director of the San Antonio River Walk Association. “Generations of families have been coming to our events for decades.” The unofficial kickoff… Read More

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In San Antonio, no place does the holiday season better than downtown and the world-famous River Walk.

“What makes the holidays in San Antonio so special? Simple, it’s tradition,” said Maggie Thompson, executive director of the San Antonio River Walk Association. “Generations of families have been coming to our events for decades.”

The unofficial kickoff is the legendary Holiday Lights on the River Walk. Running through Jan. 7, the river is illuminated from dusk until dawn with thousands of holiday bulbs strung in the trees. Easily one of the most popular events in the city, it is also free.

“We turn on the river lights the day after Thanksgiving,” Thompson said. “We have over 100,000 lights that are breathtaking to see.”

The Ford Fiesta de las Luminarias also happens each day starting at dusk. Visitors can witness over 2,000 luminarias (traditional Mexican paper lanterns) as they stroll along the River Walk. The Ford Holiday Boat Caroling will feature groups from across the city floating on the newly unveiled river barges, singing beloved holiday songs.

If you are looking for dazzling sights off of the River Walk, visit the University of the Incarnate Word to see all the beautiful lights decorating the campus. Kicked off by the Light the Way celebration in mid-November, the lights should stay up through early January.

Just down the road from UIW is the annual Zoo Lights in Brackenridge Park. Thousands of twinkling lights, wild colors, exotic decorations and intricate animal patterns illuminate the walkways of the San Antonio Zoo. New will be ice skating and camel rides.

The McNay Art Museum gets in on the holiday festivities with a Yuletide exhibit titled “Behind the Scenes: Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas.” The exhibit runs through Dec. 31 and features models used in the film. The museum is at 6000 N. New Braunfels Ave.

As the city heads toward New Year’s Eve, there are still plenty of festivities. The San Antonio Botanical Garden, 555 Funston Place, presents Holidays in Bloom through Dec. 31. Visitors are invited to take individual or family photographs against the decked-out holiday backgrounds.

Lastly, the San Antonio 300 Commission, which is planning the city’s 300th birthday, kicks off months of celebrations leading with Tricentennial Celebrate 300, on Dec. 31. Downtown’s cityscape will be transformed through majestic projections on buildings, festive lighting and decorations. There also will be events for families and children, concluding with a special fireworks show as the clock strikes midnight.

Visit https://www.sanantonio300.org/ for more details.

“San Antonio during the holidays is one of the best places to visit for families,” Thompson said. “Not only is the temperature usually very inviting, but we continue to find new ways to enhance the city’s ambiance each year.”

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The Local Lowdown – December 2017 http://localcommunitynews.com/local-lowdown-december-2017/ http://localcommunitynews.com/local-lowdown-december-2017/#respond Tue, 05 Dec 2017 15:59:06 +0000 http://localcommunitynews.com/?p=3215 THE CITY COUNCIL APPROVED AN INCENTIVE PACKAGE FOR San Antonio-based Credit Human of up to $5.9 million. In return, Credit Human will make a $113 million investment to construct its headquarters — including streets, sidewalks, shade trees and a pocket park — fronting Broadway at East Grayson Street downtown. CHRISTUS SANTA ROSA HOSPITAL ALAMO HEIGHTS RECENTLY transitioned… Read More

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THE CITY COUNCIL APPROVED AN INCENTIVE PACKAGE FOR San Antonio-based Credit Human of up to $5.9 million. In return, Credit Human will make a $113 million investment to construct its headquarters — including streets, sidewalks, shade trees and a pocket park — fronting Broadway at East Grayson Street downtown.

CHRISTUS SANTA ROSA HOSPITAL ALAMO HEIGHTS RECENTLY transitioned from a for-profit, physician-owned joint venture to a not-for-profit, owned wholly by Christus Santa Rosa Health System. Located at 403 Treeline Park, the 36-bed private room, full-service surgical hospital with state-of-the-art technology is expanding services to provide a higher level of assistance by adding an intensive care unit, according to CEO Dean Alexander. It also is improving community access by accepting Medicare, Medicaid and most insurance.

IN HONOR OF ITS 100TH ANNIVERSARY, BRACKENRIDGE HIGH SCHOOL IN THE SAN ANTONIO INDEPENDENT SCHOOL DISTRICT held a rededication ceremony including a ribbon-cutting and the unveiling of a banner, Nov. 1. Students served as major participants in the ceremony, which honored the original dedication Nov. 1, 1917.  In 1974, Brackenridge was renamed Wheatley High School, then returned to its original name in 1988.

THE SAN ANTONIO BOTANICAL GARDEN recently celebrated the opening of an 8-acre expansion with a ribbon-cutting and two “action-packed days” of events, according to a spokeswoman. Guest speakers included Bob Brackman, the garden’s executive director; Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff; Bexar County Commissioner Tommy Calvert; City Council District 2 representative William “Cruz” Shaw; and Xavier Urrutia, city Parks and Recreation Department director. The garden is at 555 Funston Place.

AREA CHILDREN DRESSED IN CONSTRUCTION GEAR TOOK PART IN THE GROUNDBREAKING for Legoland Discovery Center San Antonio and Sea Life San Antonio Aquarium. They laid down Lego bricks and sand at the construction site of the two attractions, coming to the Shops at Rivercenter Mall. Up to 65,000 square feet at the sites will be home to interactive and educational exhibits, officials said.

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Passing torch to the future http://localcommunitynews.com/passing-torch-future/ http://localcommunitynews.com/passing-torch-future/#respond Tue, 05 Dec 2017 15:50:28 +0000 http://localcommunitynews.com/?p=3203 Time marches on and San Antonio society is no exception. As memories of past parties fade, new memories are made by younger generations continuing the traditions of their elders. The Witte Game Dinner, “Carrying the Torch with a Texas Flare,” was chaired by Susan Naylor, and featured food, food and more food (including a delicious… Read More

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Time marches on and San Antonio society is no exception. As memories of past parties fade, new memories are made by younger generations continuing the traditions of their elders.

The Witte Game Dinner, “Carrying the Torch with a Texas Flare,” was chaired by Susan Naylor, and featured food, food and more food (including a delicious wall of doughnuts), along with a silent auction, a super silent auction, a live auction and a concert by Aaron Lewis. KENS 5 anchor Jeff Brady served as master of ceremonies.

For the past 137 years, the German Club of San Antonio has hosted the lavish “Opening German” gala to introduce debutantes during the social season.

This year’s class of classy ladies are Ann Swilley Archer, Elizabeth Janvier Braha, Lillian Foster Calvert, Caroline Louise Cochran, Jillian Joy Fuhrmann, Reagan Riley Gulley, Callan Mackenzie Harrison, Clara Patricia Kelleher, Carolyn Leigh King, Claudia Luedemann Kiolbassa, Felicia Louise Mannix, Caroline Rose Miller, Caroline McSween Satel, Megan Patricia Spalten, Cecelia Estelle Swanson, Madison Elizabeth Wright and Mallory Cathryn Wright.

Speaking of classy gals, Pi Beta Phi sorority had a great rush across the South.  The University of Texas fall pledge class included Alamo Heights graduates Maggie Archer, Bracken Barnes, Jane Beck, Kate Douglass, Avery Miller and Margaret Schupbach. Faith Miller also pledged Pi Phi at the University of Mississippi.

Jeff-Brady-and-Harry-HauckCarole-Miller-and-Kris-ClarkSusan-Naylor-and-Paul-Overstreet
Tatum-Buhner-and-Faith-Miller
Wilson-Daniell-and-Morgan-SingstadTucker-Olsen-and-Samantha-MidcapLida-Steves-and-Tres-Plumber

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Sign of the times in Alamo Heights http://localcommunitynews.com/sign-times-alamo-heights/ http://localcommunitynews.com/sign-times-alamo-heights/#respond Tue, 05 Dec 2017 15:45:20 +0000 http://localcommunitynews.com/?p=3201 ALAMO HEIGHTS — With a view down the road, the city is looking at revamping its sign ordinance in an effort to make it more user-friendly, especially for businesses. The City Council first adopted the sign ordinance in June 1993. Part of this effort is updating the language in city codes to reflect the greater variety… Read More

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ALAMO HEIGHTS — With a view down the road, the city is looking at revamping its sign ordinance in an effort to make it more user-friendly, especially for businesses.

The City Council first adopted the sign ordinance in June 1993. Part of this effort is updating the language in city codes to reflect the greater variety of signage that a merchant is able to use, as well as the application process.

Mayor Bobby Rosenthal said the current ordinance is “too arbitrary” in many ways.

One key proposed provision would add maximum sizes for different types of signs in order to give owners and applicants more direction when designing marquees.

“Clarifying permitted sign sizes will make it easier on owners and sign companies at the outset,” Rosenthal added.

Other proposed provisions are:

• Allowing for permit approval on replacement signs, or refacing, to be done at the city staff level rather than the council or board level.

• Adding and/or modifying definitions of types of signs to give greater strength to the city’s code when it comes to enforcement.

Rosenthal said it would greatly help if the city can streamline its permitting process.

“We’ve also looked at helping businesses by allowing staff to approve certain signage instead of forcing owners/tenants to go through (the Architectural Review Board) or City Council, which can cause an unnecessary delay,” he added.

Local officials are also looking at how signage affects aesthetics. Proposed ordinance revisions could limit the number of signs that specific businesses maintain, too.

“Some retail windows currently have far too much clutter,” the mayor said.

The city held two open houses for the community in October, and the ARB had an initial session to discuss the proposed changes.

City Manager Mark Browne said all of the proposed revisions had not yet gone to the council as of early November. He hopes the council will be able to review the proposals by the end of the holiday season.

Browne acknowledged there has been “minimal feedback” from the public and only a handful of community members attended the open houses.

Rosenthal said he hopes residents and business owners will soon take the time to learn more about the sign-ordinance revisions.

The mayor added the changes are part of the city’s larger, long-range effort to redefine the community’s appearance, and to make the Broadway/Austin Highway/North New Braunfels Avenue corridors even more inviting to commerce.

“We will be sensitive to the affected owners and tenants, as one of our goals is to make the commercial district more attractive and thus more desirable,” Rosenthal said. “We’re simply trying to put a degree of uniformity in place and, in a handful of instances, remove some of the clutter.”

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Give school buses a brake http://localcommunitynews.com/give-school-buses-brake/ http://localcommunitynews.com/give-school-buses-brake/#respond Tue, 05 Dec 2017 15:42:21 +0000 http://localcommunitynews.com/?p=3198 Too many motorists are still speeding around stopped school buses unloading or taking on children, creating a dangerous situation. In this season of giving, let’s also practice a little more care and caution. The most risky part of the day for many pupils is often when they get on or off a school bus. When… Read More

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Too many motorists are still speeding around stopped school buses unloading or taking on children, creating a dangerous situation.

In this season of giving, let’s also practice a little more care and caution.

The most risky part of the day for many pupils is often when they get on or off a school bus.

When the school bus pulls to the curb with lights flashing, motorists should put its young passengers first. Slow down and stop as well; take deep breaths. You’ll get where you need to go soon enough.

Besides, it’s the law. Since 2013, traffic statutes in Texas have become more severe for drivers who pass stationary school buses displaying a visual signal.

An initial offense can cost as much as $1,250, and a follow-up violation could mean a suspended license. Moreover, points accrued to driving records can’t be erased with a defensive-driving course.

Other deterrents are in place, too.

Several local school districts have attached cameras to buses to catch violators driving around loading zones, with fines for first infractions reaching $300.

Regardless of what the law says, common sense should rule here.

If you see a school bus put on its brakes and extend a stop sign or flashing red lights, press your brakes, too. Nothing justifies zooming around and endangering a child’s life.

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