We have been inundated with quite a bit lately. However, I am happy to be opportune to present a few updates. 1. Human Resources: The department has had some challenging moments regarding resource issues for the past two and a half months. Our Downtown Manager retired, our Building Official moved on and we had to conclude with the City Budget process. I am happy to announce that we now have a new Downtown Manager who incidentally, used to head the Planning Department in the City of Aransas Pass. Her name is Brenda Joyas. She was chosen from amongst 4 applicants and she came out tops with a lot of experience in Downtown issues as well as Planning in general. She is a mother of 5 lovely children and is desirous of making a difference in the City of Kingsville. We are still looking out for a Building Official and the vacancy is still open until filled. 2. Development Process: The next burning issue is relating to the development process. The department is currently reorganizing and has put up a Planning Improvement Group that is charged with the task of looking at our permitting process more closely with a view to streamlining the process and making it easier for customers/developers to do business with the planning department. Our target is to reduce processing times to as few as 10 days for majority of applications. One very important message I’d like to leave with our residents is the need, as part of most applications, to submit proper drawings that are well-dimensioned with enough details including set-back requirements (if applicable). This is one of the reasons why a number of applications get delayed unnecessarily. Hand-drawn, pencil drawings with irregular lines will no longer be tolerated. If one must submit a hand-drawn document, it has to be with a pen and straight lines that have all relevant details. I am aware that not all developers are computer savvy. However, this presents an opportunity for the City. Young graduates or even high school graduates can take up the challenge and study technical drawing or Computer Aided Design and Drafting and open up a small shop in order to render the service to developers. There is a great market for that within the planning department. The department is willing to encourage any such idea. Lastly, for major residential and most commercial applications, we would require a pre-application meeting whereby issues relating to the development are discussed in its conceptual form. Developers would require relevant sketches including site plans. Once the development is seen to be workable in principle, then proper plans are then developed and a formal application is made. The idea here is to make it possible to have a hitch-free application process. 3. Comprehensive Plan: The new City of Kingsville Comprehensive Plan dubbed Evolution 2040 is underway. We shall be having a presentation that would be run by the Commission in a short while so look out for the City Commission Agenda. This plan is intended to shape the way we order and develop land within the City. It promises to be robust with full public participation. It is going to be your plan, the plan for all the good people of Kingsville (We the People). 4. Community Appearance: In my last newspaper article, I was expressing my sincere thanks to the residents of Kingsville for a job well done on their properties with respect to weedy lots and overgrown grass. I would like to appeal to everyone not to relent in their efforts to keep Kingsville beautiful. We should also try and keep junked vehicles out of sight. It renders our city blighted and reduces the property value of our real estate assets. 

Uche Echeozo

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