By Jade Ortego
Killeen Daily Herald
BELTON - The Belton City Council voted Tuesday to allow panhandling for certain city-sponsored fundraising events.
On May 11, a representative from the Heart of Texas Chapter of the Muscular Dystrophy Association asked the council to allow Belton firefighters to conduct their annual "Fill the Boot" campaign, which raises money for the MDA.
At Tuesday's meeting, the council amended the panhandling ordinance to permit the firefighters' campaign.
Fundraising to be allowed will be limited, and must meet certain criteria enumerated in Texas Senate Bill 245. Solicitors must be employees or agents of a local authority and must file a written application, among other restrictions.
In other action, the council approved changing the zoning of 27.7 acres on Connell Street from agriculture to strictly "single family." The council will consider the possibility of allowing multifamily and nonresidential zoning in that area at a later meeting. Up to 25 percent, or seven acres, likely in the southeast corner of the area, might be approved for non-single family construction.
Council member David Leigh did not want to give developers the ability to allow a certain percentage of non-single-family zoning to occur in an area designated for single-family homes only.
"People are going to look out their backyards and they'll think, 'Oh my goodness. I don't want renters instead of homeowners.' Or, 'I don't want businesses instead of renters and homeowners'" Leigh said.
The council also approved the purchase of a Dodge Charger patrol unit for the Belton Police Department. Due to many officer vacancies during the first half of this year, the $38,558 cost will be funded through the existing police department personnel budget.
Contact Jade Ortego at firstname.lastname@example.org or (254) 501-7553. Follow her on Twitter at KDHcourts.