HARKER HEIGHTS — During a Saturday retreat, City Council and staff devised a three-pronged vision for a 2.4-mile corridor along Knight’s Way — south of U.S. Highway 190 — that includes conversion from a higher-speed thoroughfare to a low-speed street, building design improvements, and flexibility with developers to encourage a diverse appearance of buildings.
The proposed redevelopment, or overlay district, would follow an amendment to the zoning ordinance, although no zones would be changed, said City Manager Steve Carpenter.
Sixteen percent of the area is occupied by businesses now, which the city hopes to increase to 35 percent under its land use plan, said Fred Morris, director of planning and development. Fifty-five percent of the 1,530 acres of land is vacant.
With five lanes and 40- to 45-mph speed limits, Knight’s Way is a road developed to complement U.S. 190, but it doesn’t cater to a mix of cars, bicycles and walkers, like a “street” with shrub-lined sidewalks, narrow roadways and protruding storefronts, said Morris, presenting PowerPoint slides.
While the council agreed that it would need to work with TxDOT for any street construction, Councilman Spencer Smith said the city should develop a vision beforehand, denying TxDOT a possible role in interference.
Concerning signage, Councilman Pat Christ agreed with Mayor Mike Aycock that tall “pole” shopping center signs would detract from the image of Knight’s Way.
Citing the need for safety, Morris, Aycock and Carpenter agreed that signs shouldn’t brightly flash at drivers, and Aycock advocated the creation of a minimum lighting ordinance to protect those on foot.
Councilman Rob Robinson supported the Planning and Zoning Commission’s recommendation of a variance of colors and materials between adjacent buildings.
Morris told the council to bring them a standards and guidelines document with “real numbers” in it, a process Aycock could take a whole day to write.
The Planning and Zoning Commission will review the document before any ordinance is submitted to the council for approval.