A Van Alstyne City Council meeting that lasted until 11 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 25 covered a variety of subjects in addition to the lenghty discussion and vote about the denied Shared Use Path. All city council members and the town’s mayor were on hand to make the necessary decisions.


The meeting started with a public hearing of the Zoning Board of Adjustments, which is made up of the same people as on the City Council. This was about a request for ordinafnce regulations regarding property at 249 Cobb Avenue, requested by property owner Theresa Boyd Gilson, who asked to move a home onto the property that is smaller than the required square footage. This was approved with a 4-1 ballot, with councilmember Suzon Crowell casting the nay vote.


The Council made a change in the ordinance outlining the official duties of the City Clerk, to include his or her attendance at all City Council meetings, unless requested to miss one and assigning a deputy employee to take his or her place and with permission from the City Manager. This must be done only under emergency circumstances, the newly revised ordinance will stipulate.


A housework-type item involved requiring the City Manager to electronically transfer the proportional monthly sales tax income to the Community Development Corporation. This was a holdover from the regular City Council meeting earlier this month, when the Council instructed the City Manager to transfer its proportional amount of income from sales tax to the Economic Development Corporation, via electronic transfer. However, since the CDC wasn’t on the agenda as an item, it had to be added and was added the agenda of this special called meeting. The Council unanimously voted to adopt the same procedure, i.e. electronic transfer of CDC income within two working days of its having been received by the city each month.


No decisions were made, but there were considerable ideas thrown around regarding the downtown parking problems, which is growing in relation to the businesses having adequate nearby parking for their respective customers. Councilmember Teddie Ann Salmon said this has been a concern of hers for quite some time.


“With businesses coming and going, there is nothing worse than having no place for your customers to park. Also, there is a need for special parking for the handicapped. We want to be business friendly,” Salmon said.


The owners of Romano’s Pizza and Fierce Motions in Dance both spoke.


“What are you guys going to do about it?” Al of Romano’s asked. “How long can businesses go on without parking? Do we have a plan in place if another business comes into town saying, ‘we’re going to take 60 parking spaces’?”


The owner of Fierce Motions said that there were 78 students at his dance studio right then, plus their parents, and that’s a lot of parking space needs.


Mayor Larry Cooper said, “It is obviously a real problem, and we are going to have to deal with it,” to which coucilmember Crowell reponded, “I think he [Al] is asking for action now.”


Robert Jaska said he will talk with the CDC board and the Chamber of Commerce board about possible ideas and help, and Salmon asked if a ‘shared use’ plan could be made with the First United Methodist Church. Another business owner asked about signage in front of businesses and, after counting up the number of business around those requesting the signs, it was determined that could be detrimental to those other businesses.


There were numerous other suggestions, and the energy created to continue delving into this situation, but no decisions could yet be made, except that City Manager Frank Baker said he would look into restriping the downtown parking in a way that could at least create one or two more parking spaces per block.


The Council moved to rewrite the tow truck rotation ordinance, but cannot do so until it is brought back to the Council table. Salmon noted that the current ordinance refers several times to “Schedule C,” but there is no “Schedule C” included in the ordinance. Once that is attached, and defines the maximum a towing company can charge for its towing services, and with the replacement of wordage to eliminate the rotation process and replace that with ‘primary’ and ‘secondary’ towing company services, the Council can take a vote on it.


The Council adjourned at 8:20 p.m. into executive session, where they stayed until 11 p.m., to discuss personnel matters based on the City Manager’s annual 2017 evaluation, his contract and performance. Once they returned to open session, the meeting was adjourned without any motions or action taken.