By Justin Cox
Killeen Daily Herald
Tuesday's Killeen City Council workshop served only as an appetizer for the handful of zoning standards that will likely consume the council's attention in the next several months.
The meat of the discussions – namely new standards governing density, subdivision size and higher design guidelines – will take place after the May 9 city elections.
But those topics have already proven to be winners for council candidates, who will continue to debate the merits of the proposed standards that will govern the look and feel of the homes that will one day occupy the various lots on the flat terrain of undeveloped land.
The planning and zoning commission has been one of the driving forces for change in those standards.
But perhaps not as much as Dr. Ray Shanaa.
Now a few months into his new post as director of planning and development, Shanaa demonstrated his usual candor and bluntness Tuesday as he presented the council with a report on potential standard changes.
These are far from final, as Tuesday served to primarily inform and get the council's blessing before the proposals get hashed out by the planning and zoning commission.
Shanaa presented changes for the R-3 developments – four-plexes and apartments – recommending increases in the ratio of unit to square-footage in both areas.
For four-plexes, the current minimum of 7,000 square feet has a proposed increase to 10,000 square feet, increasing the ratio to 2,500 square feet per unit.
Shanaa displayed pictures of numerous old, decrepit structures and four-plex developments throughout Killeen, most with a ratio substantially lower than the standard he proposed.
Several council members noted that the pictures displayed some of the oldest, worst such examples of four-plex developments in the entire city, and the newer ones would have been appropriate to include.
"I agree with my fellow councilmen, when the public sees this. ? It's very disturbing to see this," said Councilman Juan Rivera.
Shanaa said he made it biased on purpose.
"I just want you to see what you don't want to see," he said. "You see how bad they are, then you all got the message. We don't want any more of these. I wanted to show that density is too much, and we need to look at reducing that."
Contact Justin Cox at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (254) 501-7568.