The Harker Heights City Council unanimously approved Tuesday a new development on the corner of Knight’s Way and Stillhouse Lake Road.
Officials said the commercial hub could offer a glimpse into the discussed overlay district, but its prospect has spurred traffic concerns.
Along with a concept plan for Hudson Heights — a planned 200,000-square-foot retail and office center — the council approved a preliminary plat for Stillhouse Lake Road Shopping Center, which will house a 40,000-square-foot Walmart grocery store, said Planning and Development Director Fred Morris.
Mayor Mike Aycock questioned if Hudson Heights might foreshadow the layout and appearance of the discussed 2.39-mile Knight’s Way overlay district, where businesses would follow one set of comprehensive standards for building aesthetics, buffering, landscapes and streetscapes, among other guidelines.
Alongside Hudson Heights, a two-lane side street will connect Knight’s Way with Prospector Trail, according to officials. Raised medians and organized landscaping will reflect some of the overlay’s basic ideas, as will the site’s wide sidewalks, narrow side streets and dedicated turn lanes.
Councilman Spencer Smith expressed concern that the retail hub could congest traffic on Stillhouse Lake Road, causing safety hazards.
“There’s a stacking problem coming from the south,” he said. “I think this is going to exacerbate that.”
Project engineers graded the intersection’s current traffic flow as a “D,” with “F” being the lowest score, City Manager Steve Carpenter said.
“There is an issue there, I think,” Carpenter said. “There might be some temporary things they can do in terms of traffic lights.”
The city will ask the Texas Department of Transportation to further analyze the roads, Carpenter said.
The development signals a trend toward city-centric hubs, and away from businesses geared to U.S. Highway 190 drivers, Morris said.
The 46.85-acre Hudson Heights will feature low-profile, stylized signage to foster a unified building theme, according to city documents. A buffer of open green space between Hudson Heights and the adjacent Skipcha Mountain Estates will allow mass tree planting and an expansion of trail networks.
“One of the main comments we hear is residential compatibility. That’s how we’re going to deal with that,” Morris said. “We want to make sure there’s adequate buffering from the residential areas across the drainage way.”
The development’s HOP stops and neighborhood proximity provide convenience, and encourage walking and biking, Morris said.
Kimley-Horn and Associates, Inc., will construct the 9.76-acre Stillhouse Lake Road Shopping Center, and Killeen Engineering and Surveying, Ltd., will construct Hudson Heights.