The Tomball City Council once again discussed changes to the city's fencing ordinance, after receiving a flood of comments from concerned residents.
The Jan. 21 meeting opened up with comments from residents, as well as email and written comments regarding the fencing rules.
"What right does the city council have to tell us what kind of fencing we can have in terms of how high – in terms of what our property can look like?" said Tomball resident Leslie Lagerquist. "Please reconsider and come up with something a little more thoughtful."
City Secretary Doris Speer then read more than a half dozen emailed remarks, all in opposition to the recent changes.
"With the current increase in violent crimes and home invasions in Harris County, I would like to retain the option of installing a fence in my front yard to aid in protecting my family against a home invasion," wrote Tomball resident Johnny Dove.
City Planner Rebecca Guerra told council she did not have a problem with amending the ordinance further, but was looking for guidance on how they wished to proceed.
"When I came to Tomball I read the existing fencing ordinance and found that it was not only difficult to understand, but difficult to enforce," she said.
Council did discuss more proposed changes to the ordinances, such as allowing for six-foot high fencing in certain zoning areas with larger lots. Guerra pointed out that residents concerned with the height of the fence was worth considering, but that the four-foot high fence rules for front yards had been in effect since 2008.
"The current zoning ordinance, which was passed by the city of Tomball in 2008, states that the maximum height for a fence in the front yard is four feet," she said.
Council will take up a first reading of amendments to the ordinance at their next meeting.
In other business the council debated on whether to continue to waive impact fees for new businesses looking to open in the downtown Tomball area.
The city has waived the sewer and water impact fees before, during a meeting last September. The fees were waived for 180 days for the Old Town area. Council members seemed in agreement that waiving the fees could encourage new development and help smaller mom and pop type businesses get started.
Council directed city staffers to write an ordinance waiving the fees, which will be presented at the next council meeting.
Tomball Public Works Director David Kauffman told council members that the project to build new restrooms at the Tomball Depot Center was moving along.
"We hope to bring the proposal (for final designs) to council at the next meeting," he said.
City workers estimate the project to cost around $125,000 and will be built to look like the depot building.