• September 21, 2014

Builders oppose possible changes in design rules

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Posted: Saturday, October 5, 2013 4:30 am | Updated: 4:19 pm, Wed Feb 19, 2014.

Killeen is seeking to amend its design standards for several residential districts, but some local builders oppose the possible changes.

Tony McIlwain, city planner, said the proposed changes come after much discussion between city staff and planning and zoning committee members. He said members of the development and home building community were involved in the process as well.

The changes, which passed the planning and zoning commission with a 5 to 2 vote, are slated to go before the council at its Tuesday meeting. They include upping the design and masonry standards for the residential districts zoned single-family residential, residential townhouse single-family, two-family residential, multi-family residential and multi-family apartment residential to consist of 75 percent masonry brick, stone or hard-coat stucco on all sides on the first floor and 50 percent on the second floor.

Homes backed up to “collector and higher classified roadways” will be required to be constructed of 85 percent masonry materials.

“A few months ago, we embarked on this effort to put forth some standards in place to address, among other things, sustainability and aesthetics,” McIlwain said. “A great deal of research was done and examples of other masonry ordinance were examined.”

Tim Farek, vice president of Cameo Homes, said the percentages proposed in the changes makes these residential districts’ masonry code “more stringent” than those in the suburban residential single-family district, which is 75 percent masonry on the front and 50 percent on the sides.

“You’re putting a higher masonry requirement on R-1 than you are on SR-1,” he told the council at its workshop meeting.

“Kind of defeats the purpose.”

Farek said the design and costs of the proposed standards could affect the builders’ freedom to accomplish certain aesthetics.

“We were really looking for more of a design and facade approach,” he said. “I think there is great intent with this ordinance and trying to make the city look better, but I think the way it’s written, it’s not going to meet that intent.”

Robert Stefek, co-owner of Stefek and Sears LLC, echoed Farek, saying the building community was seeking a facade change to the ordinance.

“We want to do an ordinance that will fix the issues without adding extra costs, plus architectural freedom,” he said.

Stefek said he did agree with the change to the ordinance about commercial districts.

The planning and zoning commission proposes the masonry requirement be reduced from 90 percent to 80 percent for commercial structures.

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