According to the agenda for the Monday, Jan. 8 City Council meeting, the council will consider an ordinance requiring all buildings in the historic district in Old Town to have sprinkler systems in place. The council will also consider amending the city’s traffic and parking ordinances, approving an $314,895 agreement with Kimley-Horn and some requested zoning changes.
According to agenda background information, the council had approved $869,390 in funding as far back as October 2014 for installing automatic sprinkler systems in Old Town buildings. In a special session April 10 last year, fire chief Tim Tittle explained exactly how vulnerable the historic buildings are to a fire because of their proximity to each other. His and fire marshal Tim Ippolito’s presentation begins 43 minutes in to the video.
“Our only options would be to go to the buildings on either side … and basically write off the building that’s affected,” he said. “And depending on the extent of the fire, we may have to go two businesses down, and if we do that, basically, we’re writing off three businesses.”
Ippolito explained that property owners who have said they didn’t want sprinklers installed have presented roadblocks — because every building would need a sprinkler system in order for the measure to effectively prevent fires, every building has to agree in order for Lewisville to spend public money on it. The ordinance being introduced would turn the city’s request into a demand.
“While the large majority of building owners voluntarily agreed to accept City funding and allow for the installation of the fire protection systems, this ordinance will require the installation of the fire protection systems whether the building owner agrees to participate in the City-sponsored program or not,” Ippolito writes in the memorandum on the ordinance.
City council member TJ Gilmore indicated that the council was reluctant to establish this with an ordinance and much preferred to come to an agreement with the business owners.
The city will also be voting on consolidating its parking laws. Currently, article IV of chapter 15 of the city code concerns parking ordinances. The council will consider adding a new article IX to that chapter, which will specifically relate to parking laws in Old Town, and moving ordinances from article IV requiring back-in parking and setting a two-hour time limit on parking into article IX. Article IX would also include a 20-minute time limit on parking in certain spaces and loading zones and prohibit overnight parking. The full text of article IX is in the background material.
The $314,895 contract with Kimley-Horn and Associates would be to design improvements along Kealy Avenue between Purnell and Main streets.
The council will also consider zone change requests that will allow for a special warehouse on E. Valley Ridge Boulevard so that construction material distributor Rew Materials can move there from their current location on Mill Street and an office/warehouse development in the undeveloped area surrounding the Coyote Drive-In on the corner of Midway and Holfords Prairie roads.