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Mission looks at changes in lighting and landscape ordinances

City-of-Mission-logoAware of the need for lighting in parking lots for safety and the need for additional beautification of parking lots, the Mission City Council approved changes in ordinances regarding city policies of both at a Monday meeting.

Lighting plans for parking lots will be examined whenever a building permit is sought for safety against vandalism, theft and assault, and for the convenience and comfort of the user.

Levels of lighting will be regulated to provide sufficient lighting but not cause interference on public thoroughfares or encroach on the privacy of occupants of adjacent buildings. The plan must show the types and heights of the lights to be used, which must provide illumination at 10-foot intervals.

Canopy lights must be sheltered from an eye height of four feet to protection automobile drivers from glare.

Sign lighting and shielded spotlights must be screened by evergreen landscaping, walls, berms, or cut-off shielding so the light source is not visible off-site. If a light is considered to be a public hazard or nuisance, the city can require its removal.

Hazards include light trespassing in surrounding areas that causes impairment of the visual performance of operators of motor vehicles.

Coupled with the new lighting requirements and regulations, the city’s landscaping ordinance was revised in a way that there will add more landscaping in non-residential parking lots. Any nonresidential parking lot with more than 10 parking spaces shall provide 162 square feet of landscaping for each 20 parking spaces. Landscaped islands, medians, and peninsulas shall be a minimum of six feet in width, and be dispersed throughout the parking lot.

A minimum of one three-inch caliper shade or ornamental tree shall be provided for each island, median or peninsula. The remaining area must be landscaped with plants not exceeding three feet in height. Landscaped areas must be protected by curbs, or similar structures and they must be irrigated.

Another ordinance was adopted as a result on a council workshop held Aug. 8, requiring ground or tenant signs to have a minimum setback of five feet from the property line. They can have a maximum of 800 square feet and four faces. The maximum height is 80 feet.

Temporary signs such as banners may not exceed three feet in width and may be displayed no more than 30 days. A permit is required for all banner signs. They may not in any way interfere with traffic visibility.

Anyone using an off-premises sign must obtain written permission from the owner of the land or his authorized agent.

Billboard signs will be restricted to the expressway corridor or to a lesser degree along a secondary arterial corridor. Billboards shall not be erected within a 1,500-foot radius of other off-premises signs. The maximum setback is five feet from the property line. The maximum size is 484 square feet per face with a maximum of two faces. Off premises billboards may not be erected within 1,000 feet of a Mission business ground pole sign although they may be located on the opposite Business 83 or properties considered to be secondary arterial corridors having frontage to Conway Avenue. They must be outside a 500-foot radius of a church, park, or school to ensure there is no traffic hazard.

Real estate signs are limited to one temporary, non-illuminated sign per site with a minimum setback of five feet from the property line, a maximum size of 40 square feet, with a maximum height of ten feet.

A public hearing was held, and a copy of the proposed 2014-2015 budget was available at city hall for anyone wishing to see it. There was no discussion. The public was also told the tax rate for the city had been set at $0.5188, a drop of one cent from the tax rate of 2013-2014.

Virginia Townsend thanked the Mission Council for keeping Mission taxes low while Hidalgo County and other taxing entities were raising their tax rates.

The bid for the Mile 2 West Road reconstruction and widening project was awarded to IOC Company for $5,714,001. The project includes improvements between Moorefield Road and F.M. 107.

A contract for arbitrage service was awarded to Arbitrage Compliance Specialists. The company will perform annual arbitrage calculations on all bond issues to determine if funds are due to the IRS.

At the request of Police Chief Robert Dominguez, authorization was granted to accept the Bulletproof Vest Partnership Grant from the Office of Justice Programs Bureau of Justice Assistance. The grant will provide 50 percent of the cost, or $14,197,41, while the city will provide the other 50 percent of the cost.

The bid for storm drainage for Gerlach Subdivision was awarded to JCON Construction in the amount of $222,421.

JCON also received a bid for sanitary sewer improvements at Oleander Subdivision in the amount of $169,613.

Leonardo Lopez was appointed to the uncompleted term of Keri Sandvig on the Tax Reinvestment Zone/Mission Redevelopment Authority. Sandvig is moving out of town.

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