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The Lead June 3, 2022: Kerrville wrestles with large development, short-term rentals

It was a busy day evening for Kerrville policy makers; Peterson Health wins a major award for a second-consecutive year.

Good morning, Kerr County!

Get ready for MEGA HOT! That's coming next week. So, enjoy temperatures in the 90s today and Saturday. There is a slim chance of thunderstorms this afternoon, but please note the word slim. After that, hot, hot and hotter. There's no end in sight to our latest heatwave, which will be accentuated by triple-digit heat next week. #MYFACEISMELTING

On today's The Lead Live!

You're going to want to get hydrated after today's show. Jim Motheral will tell us about Asea Redox products, including the health benefits of some of their drinks. The YMCA's Mary Ashley McGibbon will update us about the Y's Roberts Ranch Camp. The camp has a series of Tuesday nature-related events during June, including bird watching next week.

Today's newsletter is sponsored by

Plan your weekend!


Kerrville Folk Festival

Starting at 7:30 p.m. in the Kennedy Outdoor Amphitheater

  • Chuck Brodsky
  • Susan Gibson
  • Pat Byrne Band
  • Ron Artis II and the Truth


  • Kerrville Farmers Market — A.C. Schreiner Mansion, 4 p.m. Information: The details: Come down and enjoy a complimentary beer, or buy a handcrafted pizza and enjoy the market.


  • Rumors — The Point Outdoor Theater, Ingram, 8:30 p.m. Information: The details: The show runs through June 25. At a large, tastefully-appointed Sneden's Landing townhouse, the Deputy Mayor of New York has just shot himself. Though only a flesh wound, four couples are about to experience a severe attack of Farce. Gathering for their tenth wedding anniversary, the host lies bleeding in the other room, and his wife is nowhere in sight. His lawyer, Ken, and wife, Chris, must get "the story" straight before the other guests arrive. The evening spins off into classic farcical hilarity as the confusions and miscommunications mount.
  • Shakespeare in the Park — Louise Hays Park, 8:30 p.m. Information: 830-896-9393 The details: Playhouse 2000 partners with the city of Kerrville Parks and Recreation Department and the Tivy High School Technical Theater Department to bring the Bard to Louise Hays Park. "Pericles," Prince of Tyre, leaves home to escape death only to win a jousting contest and marry a princess. His family sails with him once he can return home, but a storm separates them, so Pericles returns alone. Years later, Pericles finds his daughter and reunites with the wife he had thought dead.


  • 101 with a naturalist — Riverside Nature Center, 10 a.m. to noon. Information: 830-257-4837 The details: Naturalist, author, and columnist Jim Stanley and Texas Master Naturalist and native plant enthusiast John Hucksteadt will be available to meet one-on-one to answer questions and discuss various topics and listen to ideas about nature.

Wine and Spirits

  • First Friday Wine Share — Pop Hair Art, 6 p.m. Information: (830) 955-5533 The details: A fun way to meet new or different wines, people and places of business. Please bring no more than one bottle of wine for every two people.

Live music

  • Jim Turner — Cafe at the Ridge, 6 p.m. Information:
  • Jessie Wren featuring Tre Guzardo — Trailhead Beer Garden at Schreiner University, 7 p.m. Information: The details: Born and raised in Kerrville, Jessie Wren attended Berklee College of Music in Boston and graduated in 2017 with a degree in Vocal Performance. Tre and Jessie have been performing together since Jessie moved back to Kerrville in 2019.
  • Mark Odom Band — Pier 27 River Lounge and Pizzeria, 8 p.m. Information: 830-896-7437
  • Bill Mahko — Joanne Marie and Me Wine Boutique, Ingram, 6-9 p.m.


  • Movies in the Park — Kerrville Schreiner Park, 8:30 p.m. Information: 830-257-7300 The details: Enjoy the grumpy ogre named Shrek as a donkey pesters him.

Saturday, June 4, 2022

Kerrville Folk Festival

Starting at 7:30 p.m. in the Kennedy Outdoor Amphitheater

  • Darden Smith
  • John Elliott
  • Kimmie Rhodes
  • Michael Martin Murphy

Car show

  • Cars and Coffee — Billy Gene's Restaurant, 8 a.m. Information: 830-895-7377 The details: Billy Gene's Restaurant hosts this car show on the first Saturday of each month. Antiques, sports cars, lifted trucks, slammed trucks, Jeeps and project cars.


  • Hill Country Swap Meet and Market Days — Hill Country Youth Event Center, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Information: The details: A community garage sale and flea market with all types of merchandise. Buy, sell and trade. Antiques, collectibles, new, used, books, tools, furniture, household items, sporting goods, etc. Concessions available, indoor, free parking and pet friendly.
  • Hill Country Gun Show — Hill Country Veterans Center, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Information: The details: All proceeds go to veterans.
  • Summer Market — Kerrville Hills Winery, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Information: The details: There's win and shopping. What more can you ask?
  • Heart of the Hills Farmers Market — River Hills Mall parking lot, 8 a.m. Information: 830-370-7476

Live music

  • Reuben Darnell — Cafe at the Ridge, 6 p.m. Information:
  • Battle of the church bands — Lazy Days Canteen at Roddy Tree Ranch, 6 p.m. Information: 830-367-2871 The details: The finals of the battle of the church bands.
  • Turning Point — Arcadia Live, 8:30 p.m. Information: 830-315-5483 The details: A local band with a dedicated following. Playing classics from various genres and generations with a unique and eclectic interpretation.
  • Chris Saucedo Band — Crider's Rodeo and Dance Hall, 8 p.m. Information:
  • Tejano Image — La Escondida 1962, 7 p.m. Information:

A good moment of clarification

Reader Chuck Paul caught a mistake we made in Thursday's newsletter. Here's what Chuck wrote: "In today's newsletter email, you state that Gov. Abbott called for a special session of the legislature. That is incorrect. He called for a special committee, which is not the same thing. A special session must be ordered for a certain date and requires that the entire state legislature convenes during the 30-day session to draft and enact legislation. This is an important distinction. Abbott did something similar after the Santa Fe school shooting; he called for the formation of a special committee (not a special session) which essentially did nothing to address the issues at hand. As they say here in Texas, all hat, no cattle!"

We stand corrected. Thanks for the catch, Chuck.

Kerrville's planning and zoning faced with a split decision has to put in extra time

Kerrville City Attorney Mike Hayes was locked into a difficult conversation about the fate of a mega development.

It wasn't the outcome the principals of Triple Root Development wanted, but it at least moved the conversation forward on a huge planned development district in Kerrville.

Kerrville's planning and zoning commission toiled for three hours Thursday night to extricate itself from a tie vote that stalled Triple Root's planned The Reserve at Kerrville, a mix of more than 1,600 housing types across nearly 500 acres. It was a contentious, often confusing and downright exasperating meeting that saw the planning and zoning commission reach a 3-3 stalemate on approving the project.

With Commissioner Kevin Bernhard absent and unable to break the deadlock, the city staff had to figure out the next steps in handling the project, wedged between Texas Highways 16 and 173, Kerrville-Schreiner Park and Comanche Trace.

What went down in the City Council chambers Thursday could be characterized in the following ways:

  • The planning and zoning commission hobbled itself by not seeing the developer's vision for the more than 450 acres.
  • Despite new drawings and a bolder presentation, the developers couldn't clearly articulate their concept to the commission.
  • The city staff didn't communicate the significant differences in how the property would be zoned and how the planned development district was the city's most effective tool in maintaining open space in the face of the project's scale.

Essentially you had choose-your-own-adventure reasoning for the outcome of the meeting. The planning and zoning commission voted to approve the planned development district, but the project must conform with the city's zoning standards. That vote was unanimous, 6-0. It remains unclear if those standards would stand or if the City Council would need to overrule them.

Triple Root Development asked the city to allow it to make its own zoning amendments to the project. Community Development Director Drew Paxton explained that the developer could set the tone for the project's buildout in a planned development district.

For Triple Root, that tone was to do as little site grading as possible on a piece of property defined by its varied terrain. However, the message got muddled about variances and amendments, but it was too late before that got sorted out.

The belief that was the developer was asking for a variance, but City Attorney Mike Hayes told the skeptical P&Z that these were not variance requests because a planned development district (which is what Comanche Trace is) can present zoning amendments to fit its master plan.

In the case of The Reserve, that was mixed-use development with housing and commercial or three-story townhouses. Those are housing elements currently not offered in Kerrville, but the offerings residents said they wanted during the 2050 Plan and the 2019 Mayor's Housing Study.

Of course, the underlying element of the meeting were Comanche Trace residents, upset about the proximity and density. However, Triple Root tried to placate their concerns with assurances of large estate homes and significant open space setbacks adjacent to La Cumbre Drive — the one place in Comanche Trace most impacted by the development.

Planning and Zoning Chairman Mike Sigerman said he was uncomfortable with the changes required to the city's zoning to approve a housing project.

But it was the trio of P&Z Chairman Mike Sigerman and Commissioners Cliff Tuttle and David Lipscomb who couldn't escape the idea of high-density projects on lot sizes below the minimum zoning standards. All three said they were troubled by the "amendments." That led to a 3-3 deadlock and then a long period when city staff tried to determine how to proceed.

It took Hayes, Paxton and Assistant City Manager Mike Hornes several minutes of back-and-forth to clarify the situation. The developers wanted an appeal to the City Council, but that wasn't clear. Ultimately, P&Z altered the motion, taking a re-vote that put the city's current zoning limitations on the project, but this will end up becoming a significant discussion in the weeks to come for the city, the developers and the City Council, which will have to determine if the project is the right fit for Kerrville.

But what about short-term rentals?

Before Thursday's planning and zoning committee met, the City Council and P&Z held a joint meeting to determine the city's course on short-term rentals. The group didn't decide much — perhaps, illustrating the issue's complexities.

However, they did seem to rule out a moratorium and other strict rules — instead opting for further study.

For months, P&Z faced an increasing number of short-term rental requests — once again, think of your Airbnb and VRBO vacation rentals. The city required a conditional-use permit to place these rentals in specific neighborhoods, but exceptions exist. The most significant exceptions are residential transition zoning, the downtown area, and multi-family housing (or high-density). Those areas do not require a conditional-use permit.

The goal of the joint meeting focused on getting some alignment between the City Council and P&Z, which haven't always been in agreement about the conditional-use permit process. P&Z has shown wariness about the number of permits, while the City Council has overturned P&Z denials.

As mentioned initially by City Manager E.A. Hoppe, the real challenge here is that cities across the country are dealing with the same pressures — balancing owner-occupied neighborhoods with short-term rental owners, who see better cash-flow returns than long-term rentals.

City Attorney Mike Hayes provided insight into that challenges by a legal overview of where cities have faced lawsuits when they have attempted to regulate the spread of the rentals. About 12% of the city's housing inventory in Fredericksburg is now short-term rentals, but Kerrville's is about 1%.

Thursday's meeting was basically a fact-finding effort led by Mayor Judy Eychner. Councilman Joe Herring provided clarity by suggesting annual inspections, licensing, and fees might be one way to strengthen the process. There also seems to be support for improving the city's existing ordinance by eliminating the "by right" zones with a conditional-use permit and license requirement.

Peterson Health celebrates a feel-good moment

Despite the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic, Peterson Health's employees have maintained a solid belief in the quality of their employer.

Thanks to positive employee reviews, Peterson was named one of the 150 best "Best Places to Work" by Modern Healthcare for the second consecutive year.

"Our already high sense of pride for Peterson Health certainly doubled when we learned we were again named by Modern Healthcare "Best Places to Work" for 2022," Peterson Health President and CEO Cory Edmondson said. "We've been celebrating this elite award all year long and it has put Peterson Health on the map and elevated our recruiting efforts across the state and nation. So, you can only imagine how proud and excited we are to get this national designation two years in a row. This is a significant recognition that only heightens our already elevated legacy of organizational pride."

Edmondson led the announcement on Thursday to employees in the medical center's lobby. When the announcement came, employees dropped blue and gold streamers from the second and third floors.

An anonymous 17-page survey helped power the distinction for the hospital. Employees answered questions:

  • Hiring and Employment Practices
  • Pay and Benefits
  • Work-Life Balance and Wellness Initiatives
  • Training and Career Development
  • Corporate Culture and Communications, and a new section,
  • COVID-19 Questions

Peterson Health will find out their ranking on the Best Places list and be celebrated at the 2022 Best Places to Work in Healthcare awards gala on Sept. 29 in Nashville.

To see more photos from the Peterson Health announcement:


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