By Sarah Chacko
Killeen Daily Herald
For some, its the future of city development.
For the residents who gathered in City Council chambers Thursday evening, its a lot more personal.
Nearly 50 residents and landowners came to hear about the Land Use Study for State Highways 195 and 201, which might affect what will be popping up in their back yards in the coming years.
The area included in the study is shaped like a U, which travels from SH 201 at U.S. Highway 190 south to SH 195 and then follows SH 195 to Stan Schlueter Loop.
The study area runs for 1,500 feet on each side of the highways.
Councilman Dick Young, Land Use Subcommittee chairman, prefaced the meeting by saying its purpose was to plan for future land use along the two highways and give the city an idea of what the direction of development in those areas will be.
We want it to be your plan, Young told the audience.
Kevin Conner, a planner with Carter and Burgess, Inc., stood among five maps that showed various features of the lands layout as he explained the planning process.
The current phase of planning is data gathering and mapping where aerial photographs are taken, zoning designations are placed and a base map is synthesized.
The next stage includes taking into consideration things like physical conditions and planned public projects.
Key stakeholder meetings, like Thursdays hearing, are planned throughout the process, including talks with Fort Hood representatives, the Texas Veterans Land Board and land development professionals.
A developed land-use plan that can be recommended to the council is still about a month away.
Conner emphasized that the plan has to work within the existing zoning.
Were looking for the future of the city, but nobodys going to force you to do anything right now, he said.
Amidst several raised concerns, Billy Dunivan, who lives where SH 195 meets SH 201, said the plan is the citys way of helping to determine what was going to be on those roads.
Its just a study, he said.
Dunivan said he and his wife anticipated growth in their direction when they bought their land more than 20 years ago.
Resident Wayne Duncan said he appreciates that the city sought resident input, but whether it will respond to it is to be seen.
Its good the city sees a need for planning, Duncan said. But what scares most people in here is which way youre going to plan it.
City Planner Tom Dann said the whole purpose of the plan is not to tell residents how to use their land, but rather to ensure compatible land uses are next to each other.
Dann said one of the considerations that will influence the plan is the Texas Department of Transportations access management rules which state that the distance between development entrances must be at least the stopping distance of the roadways speed limit.
So for the existing speed limit on SH 195 and 201, access roads and driveways must be around 450 feet apart.
Dann told the City Council during the Jan. 11 workshop that a land use plan would allow for more consistent development of the area even under future councils.
Zoning is not enough, he said, noting that the zoning status of a parcel can be changed in just a few steps.
The decision for a land-use plan comes after several major investments already have been made in the corridor.
The new $83 million Killeen-Fort Hood Regional Airport on SH 201 opened in August 2004, and the Texas A&M University System is working to bring a stand-alone university and research park to the corridor as well. A state veterans cemetery is also in the works along SH 195. The city has started extending sewer and water lines farther into the area, sparking more interest in developing the area.
Ann Farris, whose mothers farm starts on the corner of Highway 195 and Stagecoach Road, said the plan will considerably limit what landowners can do with their land, decreasing not only their options but possibly the lands value.
Its reassuring when you say nothing will change now, she said. But it impacts our future in a major kind of way.
Contact Sarah Chacko at email@example.com