The Harker Heights City Council this week unanimously disapproved an ordinance to amend the fee schedule of the city of Harker Heights in order to waive one-half of the building permit and platting fees attributed to the construction of a new middle school on Warrior’s Path.

When the item came up on the agenda at Tuesday’s meeting, Councilman John Reider noted the topic was “a sensitive subject for me” as he was on the council during the construction of Mountain Lion Elementary School.

With the taxpayers in mind, Reider took into consideration the passage of the 2018 Killeen Independent School District bond.

The $426 million KISD bond that voters passed in May will add an average of $177 per year in property taxes in October for homes valued at $143,000, according to the district’s bond website.

Reider was also “a little torn” on the subject as he referred to the construction of the elementary school in which incidental costs came up throughout construction.

These unexpected costs that arose include the need to widen streets, improvement to sidewalks in the area and, as City Manager David Mitchell noted something this project will need — extending sewer lines.

“The money could be used better for unforeseen improvements,” Councilman Michael Blomquist added before seconding Reider’s motion to disapprove the item.

In other action Tuesday, the council unanimously approved changing the zoning designation from an R-1 One-Family Dwelling District to B-4 Secondary and Highway Business District on an empty property lot located on Cedar Knob Road between Loblolly Drive and East Knights Way.

However, the council was divided in disapproving an ordinance to grant a conditional-use permit that would allow a small animal veterinary hospital and indoor boarding facility in the 100 block of Mountain Lion Drive.

The CUP would allow the property to remain an R-1 in order to allow a current tenant to remain living in a house in the back lot of the property.

Several community members in attendance spoke on the issue.

Although he had spoken with Dr. Logan Beene, the veterinarian asking for the CUP, one resident of the Mountain Lion Drive area voiced his disapproval to the council.

The neighbor directly behind the lot also addressed the council and informed them that he had “no problem with the facility behind my property.”

Blomquist moved to disapprove the ordinance and Councilwoman Jody Nicholas seconded the motion. The motion passed on a narrow 3-2 vote, with Councilman Hal Schiffman and Mayor Pro Tem Jackeline Soriano Fountain voting against the disapproval.

In new business, the council discussed and considered the approval of an ordinance to amend the Sign Code Regulations pertaining to certain off-premises signs, feather flags and other temporary signs.

Concerns over signage taking over the landscape of the city were brought up and the council voted 4-1 to table the item with suggestions to the Planning and Development director to present a re-draft to discuss at a future meeting.

The council did suggest to staff that the re-draft include a length of time for the permit, details on a renewal process along with renewal criteria, and that off-premise signs can only be placed in empty lots. | 254-501-7562

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