Council requires sprinklers in Old Town, discusses marketing plan

Lewisville City Hall

City Council passed all of its agenda items, all of them unanimously, at the Jan. 8 regular meeting.

The biggest item from the list includes the new ordinance requiring sprinkler systems in buildings in the Old Town historic district. The city had budgeted $869,390 to install sprinkler systems in these buildings as far back as October 2014, but could not use that money unless every building owner was on board, and not everyone was. In a special council meeting April last year, fire chief Tim Tittle said that because the buildings in Old Town are so close together and they don’t have early alarm systems, there is essentially no way to fight a fire back and all firefighters would be able to do was prevent it from spreading to other buildings.

Council member TJ Gilmore said the city didn’t want to simply force the hands of private business owners, but after the Mini Mall on Denton’s historic Square was consumed in flames at 4 a.m. Dec. 28, there was added urgency to getting fire prevention systems installed. After last night, buildings in the historic district will be required to have them whether they accept the city’s money or not.

The council also passed changes to its parking ordinances, consolidating a new article into that section of the city code that specially affects Old Town. Requirements for back-in parking are moved into Article IX, along with new regulations adding two hour time limits on Old Town parking spaces, 20 minute time-limits on certain other spaces, restricting overnight parking and creating 20 minute loading zones for some businesses. The article also puts infrastructure in place to issue citations for violating these new laws.

The proposed parking zones in Article IX, as shown in the background material. (Image courtesy City of Lewisville)

The council also amended fee schedules to create a $25 fine for parking violations that were already in place.

In the workshop session before the meeting, community relations and tourism director James Kunke discussed the city’s plan to market Old Town. The city retained local design agency Mixed Media Creations in November 2016, which developed a two-year plan with a projected budget of $846,935. The city’s fiscal year 2018 budget only sets $146,700 aside for marketing Old Town.

Council member Neil Ferguson said that any prioritization would depend on the dollar values of the individual items in question. He also asked how much could be paid from the Hotel Occupancy Tax.

No recommendations were made by council at the meeting. The full presentation can be found in the meeting’s background material.

The council also approved two zone change requests, one of which 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. REW Materials president Jeffrey Butts said the company had been leasing that building, and does not know what the owner will do with it once they leave. The other zone change will allow for an office/warehouse development in the undeveloped area surrounding the Coyote Drive-In on the corner of Midway and Holfords Prairie roads.

The council approved a $314,895 contract with Kimley-Horn and Associates is to design improvements along Kealy Avenue between Purnell and Main streets.

Finally, the council appointed civil engineer Justin Moeller to the Lewisville Parks and Library Development Corporation, accountant Jack Joseph Miller to the Old Town Design Review Committee and educational consultant Peter Taggart to place 9 on the Lewisville 2025 Advisory Board. All three positions had been vacant due to recent resignations.

City council meetings take place the first and third Monday of every month, except in cases where they fall on bank holidays — as they both do this January. The meetings start at 7 p.m. in City Hall, 151 W. Church St., typically with a workshop session beforehand starting at 6 p.m. Meetings are usually recorded and posted on the city Youtube channel.

Reporting on this story was done by Steve Southwell.