Harker Heights City Council members on Tuesday discussed implementing across-the-board land use requirements for developed and bare land on Farm-to-Market 2410, from U.S. Highway 190 south to Warrior’s Path.
The considered area is 2.39 square miles, city documents stated. The Planning and Zoning Commission recommended the council take quick action on the matter.
The overlay district would supplement existing development by outlining site design and aesthetic quality standards, documents stated.
Councilman Spencer Smith questioned if the corridor of FM 2410, also known as Knight’s Way, could become a hub of business and social activity, a “Main Street.”
“It could be, yes,” said Fred Morris, director of planning and development.
Presenting photos as examples, Morris asked all council members for written opinions on 10 issues relating to the proposed overlay, ranging from building sizes to signage regulation.
Morris said he wanted to gauge the council’s feelings before writing a draft of a design guideline manual, gathering public input and writing an overlay ordinance.
The ordinance should answer development questions, including two that Morris posed to the council: Where should businesses line the sidewalks, and where should they sit behind parking lots? In what cases should signs in a strip be required to sport the same fonts and placements in front of stores?
Mayor Mike Aycock said the language of any overlay ordinance should neither be so strict as to stifle development nor so relaxed as to allow for abuse.
“Ninety percent of the people are going to do the right thing,” Morris said. “We’re planning for the 10 percent who want to pull one over on us. … If (we) don’t ask, (we’re) not going to get it.”
Councilman Sam Murphey called for an incremental approach to the overlay rather than an immediate, sweeping plan, and asked how the city could incentivize developers and landowners.
Councilmen should decide the level of city development they want to see, Carpenter said. “If you like it how it is — it’s not a bad city — it’s OK if you say that.”
To hammer out the details of an overlay, council members discussed having a retreat in the next two weeks, but nothing has been scheduled.