By Amanda Rogers
The Mansfield City Council voted Monday night to give citizens a treat for Halloween.
Council members voted unanimously to use $415,572 in CARES Act funds to install and maintain free public Wi-Fi in eight Mansfield parks – Katherine Rose, Clayton Chandler, Oliver Nature Park, McKnight East, Mans Best Dog Park, McClendon East and West, Skinner Sports Complex and Town Park - and the historic downtown.
The installation will take at least three weeks, said City Manager Joe Smolinski, but said that most of the implementation would be completed by Halloween, and all by Thanksgiving.
Body art and piercing studio restrictions
The council also gave a first nod to limiting tattoo and piercing studios inside the city. City staff had recommended that the body art studios not be allowed within 1,000 feet from single-family houses, schools, daycares and churches, but that motion failed to pass. Instead, the council decided that all future tattoo and piercing studios will have to come to council to be approved. The measure passed 6-1 with council member Casey Lewis opposed.
Studios currently operating in the city would be grandfathered in until they close, changes names, sells or changes use. The ordinance requires two more readings.
Council asked the staff to look at including massage studios in the ordinance.
Increase in trash collection fees
Council members also gave approval 6-1 (Lewis opposed) for an increase in trash and recycling from $14.15 per month to $14.85 per month for Mansfield residents. Homeowners will see the increase in their October bill. Republic Services Municipal Services Manager Vince Hrabal pointed out that costs have increased since the Chinese recycling market collapsed during the pandemic.
As part of the consent agenda, the council unanimously approved historic designation for the 1924 Mansfield High School and the 1940 Rock Gym at 605 E. Broad St.
Changes in The Oaks Preserve
Developer Adlai Pennington asked the council to reduce the minimum house size from 3,000 square feet to 2,600 square feet on 106 1/3-acre lots in the 158-acre housing development at Lillian Road and West Broad. The minimum lot size for the 45 one-acre lots is 3,500 square feet. The developer also asked to change the planned flowers and turf landscaping to xeriscape at the development’s entrances.
“I see this as West Mansfield’s chance to have a development as nice as East Mansfield,” council member Larry Broseh said.
Felix Wong, representing the developer, said that one of the builders in the development, John Houston Custom Homes, based his participation on the reduction in the home sizes.
Mayor David Cook made motion that 20 percent of the houses could be reduced to 2,600 square feet if permitted within six months. If the homes are not permitted within six months, the requirement reverts to 3,000 square feet. He also moved that the entryways be the original flowers and turf landscaping.
That motion failed with council members Brent Newsom, Julie Short, Terry Moore and Broseh opposed.
Lewis motioned that minimum house size be 2,800 square feet, which was approved 4-3 with Broseh, Moore and Leyman opposed.
The council voted 6-1 (Leyman opposed) to extend downtown’s temporary parklet program to Dec. 31, 2021. The pilot program was due to expire Jan. 19, 2021.
Council gave unanimous approval on the first reading for a pair of two-story townhomes, each housing four condominiums and another building for a garage for each of the eight owners on a .535-acre lot at 505 W. Kimball St. Each unit would be at least 900 square feet, and the buildings would have Craftsmen elements, according to the plans from owner/developer Ben Hartman. The site currently houses an older single-family home. Hartman said he expects the condos to sell for $180,000 to $200,000 each. Owners would also pay dues to maintain the exterior and common areas of the condos.
Moore, Broseh and Cook asked Hartman to consider converting the eight units to four or have vertical townhomes.
The council asked Hartman to bring an update plan to the next reading. Three readings are required for approval.
Mansfield, Texas, is a booming city, nestled between Fort Worth and Dallas, but with a personality all its own. The city’s 76,247 citizens enjoy an award-winning school district, vibrant economy, historic downtown, prize-winning park system and community focus spread across 37 square miles. The Mansfield Record is dedicated to reporting city and school news, community happenings, police and fire news, business, food and restaurants, parks and recreation, library, historical archives and special events. The city’s only online newspaper launched in September 2020 and will offer introductory advertising rates for the first three months at three different rates.