Accessory building, billboard ordinances approved by Oak Ridge North City Council

Oak Ridge North City Council met for a special-called joint hearing and regular council meeting Feb. 10. (Ben Thompson/Community Impact Newspaper)
Oak Ridge North City Council met for a special-called joint hearing and regular council meeting Feb. 10. (Ben Thompson/Community Impact Newspaper)

Oak Ridge North City Council met for a special-called joint hearing and regular council meeting Feb. 10. (Ben Thompson/Community Impact Newspaper)

During a special-called joint hearing with the Oak Ridge North Planning and Zoning Commission Feb. 10, City Council approved a new ordinance concerning the permitted size of detached accessory buildings on city properties.

The city’s previous requirement, based on an ordinance passed in April 2015, limited residents to constructing a maximum of two accessory buildings totaling no more than 500 combined square feet on their lots. The new ordinance is based on a proportional constraint for accessory structures, limiting such buildings to a maximum of 3% of each lot’s total size up to a cap of 750 total square feet. Residents would still be limited to two accessory structures, and all nonconforming existing structures are grandfathered in.

“We don’t want too many buildings and everything that would be an eyesore to the city or to neighbors,” commission Chair Cleo Tarver said. “We felt two would be appropriate, but it still gives credence to the argument—which is fair—that the larger the lot, maybe there’s a greater need for storage and what we’re trying to do Is accommodate that.”

The new ordinance was developed after the city approved a resident’s variance request for a larger accessory building last year. The planning and zoning commission then considered alternatives to the previous 500-square-foot limit before arriving at the sliding-scale proposal based on lot size.

After expressing their support for the commission’s work and briefly discussing the new guidelines, council members unanimously approved the commission’s recommendation to pass the ordinance.

“I want to thank all of y’all for going back to the drawing board and doing the hard work that it takes to get to this point,” Mayor Paul Bond said after Tarver’s presentation.

During the council’s regular session following the special-called zoning meeting, council members unanimously passed another ordinance related to signage that allows for the digital conversion of a billboard on the city’s western edge. The ordinance was developed following city staff's discussions with advertiser Outfront Media, which owns three billboards along I-45 in the city, and will result in the single digital conversion along with the removal of the other two existing signs.

The first billboard, located off Spring Pines Drive at 26526 I-45 N., will be reduced from its current height of 92 feet down to 60 feet when it is replaced with an electronic sign. The city will also be granted at least 40 hours of advertising per year on the billboard to promote community news and events. Existing billboards at 26720 I-45 N. and 26902 I-45 N. will be taken down as part of the city’s agreement with Outfront.

“With this ordinance, one, it reduces it down to just one billboard, and the city has airtime on it, which I think is a great idea. And honestly, I just think they look a lot cleaner,” Community Development Director John Beisert said.
By Ben Thompson
Ben joined Community Impact Newspaper in 2019 as a reporter for The Woodlands area and began working as Austin's City Hall reporter in April 2021.


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