• August 29, 2014

Morris explains overlay district to Kiwanis

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Posted: Friday, October 25, 2013 4:30 am

In technical terms used by city planners working at City Hall, it’s called the Proposed Development Overlay District 1: Knight’s Way Corridor. But for the average resident, it’s a tool to help improve the appearance and quality of development in the area.

Fred Morris, planning and development director for the city, was the featured speaker at Tuesday’s Kiwanis meeting.

“The overlay district spans Knight’s Way and surrounding properties from U.S. (Highway) 190 in the west to the eastern city limits,” he said. “It addresses and enhances zoning regulatory standards such as building placement, size, height, parking, access, landscaping, buffering and signage.”

This district enhances design standards and its purpose is to ensure design decisions complement each other and contribute to creating the quality envisioned by the community, Morris said.

The Planning and Zoning Commission is now at the point where they are ready to make solid recommendations about the district and will present those to the City Council for adoption in the near future, Morris said.

“The 20-year goal of this project is that Farm-to-Market 2410/Knight’s Way not be a freeway running through our town,” Morris said. “We want it to be a street in the community that people recognize as part of the city of Harker Heights and not just an extension of Central Texas Expressway. There will be an eventual change in the function of that highway.”

Topics of discussion were very similar in earlier studies dating back to 2007. Harker Heights citizens were talking then just as they are today about residential and pedestrian safety, economic stability, more recreational areas, improving residential and commercial development, promoting compatibility between commercial and residential and improvement to infrastructure.

In recent Planning and Zoning Commission meetings, a major topic of discussion was adding medians to FM 2410.

“Even though not everyone agreed, our research seemed to show medians provide an increase in traffic capacity, reduction in delays and safer streets,” Morris said.

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