SAN ANGELO, Texas — This morning on June 21, 2022, the City Council met and discussed several topics that will affect the future of San Angelo including a charter review of an appointed vs. elected Police Chief, the construction of an Interstate Corridor, a new Historic District and the lease of the North AMCOM hanger.
North AMCOM – CBP lease
Jeremy Valgardson, Airport Director represented the San Angelo Airport. The North AMCOM Hanger was a part of the initial Mitsubishi Aircraft Factory in 1970 and was taken possession of in 2006 by the US army for aircraft recovery (US Army Aviation and Missle Command AMCOM) and currently has remained vacant since 2016. The building has been used to store tractors and airport equipment. Over time the building has been damaged by wind storms.
US Customs and Border Protection proposed to lease the hanger from the airport in order to expand into San Angelo and support their Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Program. Back in September 2021, the airport signed a lease with CBP where it was requested to make certain improvements to meet city code, such as a sprinkler system, for occupancy which will cost the airport $1.5 million and CBP $1.5 million.
The Fire suppression system will cost $812,556 which will be paid back to the city by CBP over a ten-year period.
This is a 5-year lease with 3 5-year options that will take effect once all the improvements are done and CBP takes occupancy. The rental of the building will cost $193,260.90 per year. After CBP gets occupancy and the airport receives all 3 leases the rent will bring in $587,316 per year.
This was passed 6-0
Master Thoroughfare Plan-North San Angelo Interstate Corridor
The Interstate Corridor will be north of FM 2105 connecting from US Highway 87 on the west to US Highway 277 and US Highway 67 on the east.
This project is headed by TXDOT, not the City of San Angelo.
Two landowners expressed concern during public comment. The first landowner of the property on the corner of 208 and Red Creek Road stated, “This land that I am concerned about has been in my family since 1943, that’s 79 years, 3 generations…this is no different than some of the old buildings here in San Angelo that we try to save, ” he said, “My family has already given land for the IV waterline and the LCRA powerline both of which were bad deals…the proposed interstate will cut this property in about half…my concern about my family crossing the interstate not to mention what access we will have to the other side.” He continued to discuss more possible issues with trash and drainage.
The second landowner discussed concerns with school land by Highway 87 and said, “we are very opposed to it.” he continued by saying, “it does matter how you vote today because if you agree with this TXDOT is fine with it…it does matter if you vote to stand up for your constituents and their property and their rights.”
This was passed 4-2 with Karen Hesse Smith and Larry Miller opposed.
New Historic District in Downtown San Angelo
In September 2020, the City commissioned HHM & Associates to undertake a historic resources survey of downtown San Angelo through a grant from the Texas Historical Commission. The project documented and evaluated all buildings and sites within the survey boundaries. Each of the properties surveyed received a preservation priority ranking of high, medium, or low:
- High: Contributing historic, eligible for NRHP listing
- Medium: Contributing historic, ineligible for NRHO listing
- Low: Non-contributing
The proposed changes include the creation of a new Historic District in Downtown San Angelo, amending the criteria for a Certificate of Appropriateness, and adopting the Historic Preservation Design Guidelines (added originally in 2010) for the Central Business District.
The new Historic District proposal includes one block on either side of Chadbourne to Oaks and one block in the other direction to Irving from the south end almost to the river and up to 3rd street. The High and Medium priority properties will be required to obtain a Certificate of Appropriateness for exterior construction and demolitions while low-priority properties will only require a Downtown District Overlay Zone approval for exterior construction as well as a Certificate of Appropriateness for demolitions.
Advantages for property owners in this district were listed as increasing property values, high and medium priority properties will receive a City tax abatement, greater than $200 per year up to $1,000 per year, and low will receive greater than $100 per year or 10% abatement up to 4500 per year. Specific projects for contributing properties spending $10,000 or more can apply for up to 50% abatement of City property tax for 10 years.
During public comment, two-property owners opposed it and Monica Ramos with DTSA Inc supported it. The first property owner said, “.. the idea that the only other thing we have to do is add another layer of unelected bureaucracy to people, after everything we have already been through…you think that taking downtown back to the 19th century is progress, I don’t see that as progress,” she said, ” I see individuals who own their property making their own decisions about their property as progress…you don’t represent tourists from Midland, you represent the citizens and the taxpayers of San Angelo.”
The second property owner to oppose said, ” I do believe in preserving history, that’s a treasure, however, I think you have the responsibility to consider Private Property rights… I think a lot of the time we are not considering the property owner’s perspective of this”
Monica Ramos with DTSA Inc said, “…people do not have a problem coming into our Historic Downtown with the existing overlay zone…Downtown San Angelo is an attraction, it is the hub of our city, it is the heart of our city, people come here to shop, dine, visit the art and most importantly visit the historical appeal of our Downtown.” She continued by saying, “It is a fact that tourists that seek culture and history tend to spend more money than those that travel for leisure.”
In order to pass, this required a super majority of the council.
This was passed 6-0
Charter Review of an appointed vs. elected Police Chief
Every two years the state allows a charter to be amended, the last charter review was in 2015. This was mentioned in order to see if the council, “had an appetite for that, and if so who to appoint.”
Council member Harry Thomas said, ” It is an opportunity to make sure our charter is in alignment with state statutes and also to clean up anything that may be in there…I support it.”
Council member Tommy Hiebert said, ” To me, it is a part of the process…that we should go through… I am in support of it.”
Council member Lucy Gonzales said, “I am also in support of it…since it has been since 2015 that it has been looked at.”
Each City Council member nominated a community member to serve on this board. Those nominated include:
- Billie DeWitt
- John Austin Stokes
- Ronald Graham
- Candy Poole
- Mark Lack
- Judge Allen Gilbert
- David Howard (Current Asst. Chief at SAPD)
This would have to be approved no later than August 22, 2022.
This passed 6-0
In order to watch the meeting in its entirety go here.