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Lubbock City Council Postpones Downtown Supergraphic Sign Ordinance, Approves Task Force to Study City-County Shared Law Enforcement Services, Facilities

Cole Shooter, KFYO.com

At their meeting Thursday evening, the Lubbock City Council chose to postpone an appeal regarding super graphic signs in the downtown Lubbock area.

Developer Delbert McDougal requested the appeal, after his request for an addition to the City of Lubbock’s sign ordinance was turned down by the City’s Planning and Zoning Commission.

The sizable supergraphic advertisements are often placed on the sides of high-rise buildings, and McDougal, who is the master developer for Lubbock’s downtown redevelopment project, said in the Planning and Zoning Commission meeting, that the signs could give downtown Lubbock more energy toward redevelopment.

The current sign code, which was written in 1975, allows for 10 percent of an individual wall to be used for signage.

Under the draft zoning amendment declined by the Planning and Zoning Commission, a supergraphic sign could only be located on a blank wall face, could not exceed 450 feet in height, could not display the same message for more than twelve consecutive months without approval, and only 15 supergraphic sign location permits could be allowed in the area.

A supergraphic sign is a large plastic or vinyl advertisement consisting of 75 percent graphics and 25 percent texts, as seen in some large metropolitan downtown districts.

Six out of seven Council members would need to approve the measure to overturn the Commission’s recommendation.

The item has been indefinitely postponed.

The Council also approved a resolution to establish a task force of five members to study sharing some services between the City of Lubbock and Lubbock County, namely law enforcement office space and jail or holding facilities.

The task force will be comprised of Lubbock Chief of Police Roger Ellis, Lubbock County Sheriff Kelly Rowe, and three members appointed by the Council from the City at large. The group would report back to the Council within six months.

Lubbock Mayor Glen Robertson weighed in, saying “I think the thing that really bothers me is that this is a process that we’re already doing. It’s being done currently, and I’m afraid of throwing more people in the process and slowing down what we’re trying to get done.”

Ellis discussed the issue as well, saying “There are so many reasons not to combine our detention facility with the county jail. Historically, in the early years of my career, before we opened our detention facility for the last 15 years or so, is that the county jail had shut us down from taking our prisoners to the county jail except for felons…I also think history repeats itself, especially when money and politics are involved.”

Lubbock police made 10,618 arrests in 2012, which Ellis holds is large enough to keep their own detention facility.

The Council approved the measure four to two, with Robertson and District Five Councilwoman Karen Gibson voting against the measure and District One Councilman Victor Hernandez absent due to illness. The Council will appoint the remaining three members to the task force at a future meeting.

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