With Saturday’s election approaching, all Harker Heights City Council candidates expressed support for establishing a master city development plan, a hot-button issue recently tapped by council members.
Stu McLennan said an across-the-board concept plan should cover spacing requirements between businesses and roads and compatibility with surrounding areas.
“You’ve got to … give (residents) a vision,” McLennan said, adding that council members should “show them how their land, undeveloped, would lead to a better plan for the city.”
Instead of long strip malls, McLennan said he would support construction of shopping centers at intersections with planned housing developments in between. “What do you want 2410 to look like?” McLennan said. “Do you want everything to be strips all the way down?”
Hal Schiffman said if elected, he’d collaborate with other council members on master planning initiatives. He said city government will have a bigger stake in master planning as Heights continues to grow in the next 15 years.
“If the quality of our infrastructure is not already in place at that time, then we can look to not having an economically sustainable community for generations to come,” Schiffman said.
A comprehensive concept plan would foster communication between city planners and local residents, Donald Erik Sandlin wrote in an email on Wednesday.
“I look forward to being a participant in the city’s concept development plan by representing the citizens as a city councilman,” Sandlin wrote.
The candidates also reiterated why they thought they were the best candidate.
Sandlin, a technology test contractor at Fort Hood, said he’d keep residents in mind for the decisions he makes. “Obviously, I’m not a politician,” he wrote. “I see myself as a simple man who has a heart for the city, and can easily represent the thoughts of residents to fellow council members.”
Sandlin urged voters to remember what drew them to Harker Heights, and noted that he’d work to preserve the “uniqueness” of the city. “There is a stark contrast between my thoughts and those of the other two candidates that is readily apparent to the voters.”
Schiffman, a retirement planner, highlighted his volunteer experience.
“My 20 years of community service illustrates that I have not recently come to a desire to serve my community,” Schiffman wrote. “Elected public service is only the next evolution of all that has preceded.”
Schiffman has volunteered for the Rotary Club, the United Way board of directors and the Better Business Bureau steering committee.
McLennan, who served seven years on the planning and zoning commission, said voters should choose him because of his relevant experience.
“That’s all I’ve campaigned on,” McLennan said. “And if that matters, I’ll be elected.”
McLennan said he has attended 21 council meetings and nine workshops since February 2012, and that he gained a keen knowledge of city code and planning through his experience in city governance.