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UDC town hall draws good dialogue, low turnout

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  • Boerne development directors Nick Colonna and Laura Tally, along with consultant Carissa Cox of Mosaic Planning, made the first Unified Development Code “town hall” presentation to sparsely-filled seats in the council chambers. Star photo by Elena Tucker
    Boerne development directors Nick Colonna and Laura Tally, along with consultant Carissa Cox of Mosaic Planning, made the first Unified Development Code “town hall” presentation to sparsely-filled seats in the council chambers. Star photo by Elena Tucker

Public participation in Boerne’s unified development code officially launched on Tuesday evening with barely a dozen citizens present to hear the presentation and engage in discussion. Many of those in the audience were members of the UDC steering committee.

Carissa Cox of Mosaic Planning and Development Services explained the UDC should provide processes that actually work without lowering standards.

“How can we find a happy medium?” Cox asked regarding a code development process that will include zoning and design of subdivisions and infrastructure, along with residential and non-residential site design.

“Whether you like developers or not, they are the ones putting their money at risk,” she said.

Planning and Community Development Director Laura Talley explained that the UDC really has to do with writing ordinances that are more substantial – less vague.

“We’re trying to write ordinances for which we won’t be asked for variances,” Talley said.

In response to an audience question, Cox said that one of the main pitfalls to avoid in the process of writing the UDC is “not to do a good job of getting staff and elected officials on the same page.” However, she added, “administration can be unified through the process.”

With another town hall scheduled for September, Cox urged citizens to remain involved by attending Planning & Zoning and city council meetings and keeping up with web page updates.

Currently, the UDC draft content is being written by Cox/Mosaic in close cooperation with city staff.

P&Z, the city council and the steering committee will all be involved in the process of clearing a final product that will be presented for a vote in October.

“Growth is happening so fast, we need this yesterday,” Cox said,” but at the same time we’ve got to get it right.”

Another person in the audience noted the “turn-out problem,” to which Talley responded, “I would loved to have seen people filling this room and piling outside.”