By Mason W. Canales
Harker Heights Herald
Adam Parker spent his youth growing up in Killeen and can remember when Harker Heights was just a small town, but now it is a place where he wants to raise his children and help it to improve.
"I think that Harker Heights is pretty great," Parker said. "I remember that there really wasn't a whole lot here when I was a kid. To see where it is now, I think it is great and I hope it continues to grow."
Parker is one of three former planning and zoning commissioners whom the city recognized for their service at a volunteer reception in February.
He served on the P&Z from January 2005 to 2011 after graduating from Texas A&M and moving back to live in Harker Heights. He lived in the city and worked in Killeen for several years before he decided he was going to try and make a difference in the city.
Parker, who is primarily a real estate appraiser, but has also built homes and developed property, such as Sutton Place, offered to volunteer for the P&Z because he thought the city could use his expertise on the recommending body that assists the City Council.
And the P&Z did use his knowledge of business, said P&Z Chairman Stu McLennan.
"The expertise that he brought was the understanding for the business community," McLennan said.
Parker, Tim Boose and Jim Wright, who all received recognition in February, really informed the P&Z about how businesses operate when it comes to development and building, McLennan said.
"They mentored the rest of the P&Z," he said.
Parker was very much a team builder and an educator, who while in the business of development didn't let that "color" his decision about the issues brought before the recommending body, McLennan said.
"Everything he did with the group was to make sure that the City Council and staff had a well-thought-out, well-researched opinion from the P&Z," McLennan said.
There were many changes in ordinances that were reviewed by the planning and zoning commission while Parker was a commissioner.
He played a big role in helping draft the subdivision ordinance and the commercial building façade ordinance, McLennan said.
The subdivision ordinance was changed to allow the council more input on subdivisions, and the façade ordinance was changed to increase the aesthetics of buildings constructed in Harker Heights.
Parker said he believes one of the major accomplishments the P&Z made while he was on the commission was drafting the drainage ordinance.
The drainage ordinance changed the requirement for developers creating subdivisions and how they had to control storm-water runoff to prevent flooding.
"That was a big deal where we had to work with developers," Parker said. "We had to make it to where it was more advantageous for the residents. … I think that was one of the major accomplishments.
"There were a lot of concerns from developers, but we were able to meet in the middle," he said.
While Parker left the P&Z because of term limits, he was sure he would volunteer again, he said.
"Adam is not done," McLennan said. "He will keep serving the community."
Parker has worked for Parker and Sutton Real Estate for 11 years.
Contact Mason W. Canales at firstname.lastname@example.org or (254) 501-7554. Follow him on Twitter at KDHheights.