The Killeen City Council unanimously agreed to make changes to its future land use map to allow for an apartment complex on the south right-of-way of Vahrenkamp Drive, just west of Clear Creek Road, despite a handful of nearby residents contesting the move at Tuesday’s regular meeting.
A little more than 18 acres were amended from general commercial to multifamily residential and rezoned from a business district to a multifamily apartment residential district.
The developer for the project is Great Lakes Properties, LLC out of Alabama.
Royce Bradley, a representative for the developer, said after doing an “extensive market study” of Killeen, the Great Lakes Properties felt the area was “the right spot.”
“We feel like this project will be a positive for the city of Killeen,” he said.
Bradley said the plan is for a complex with 242 units in a gated community with two entrances and a buffer zone.
Councilman Jose Segarra, who made the initial move for approval, said he sees the project as being a benefit to the city.
Councilman Steve Harris, who represents District 4, where the complex will be located, said that even with the concerns residents have regarding the development, he believes it will “work out.”
“I have to take my emotions out of it and try to look at it from a growth standpoint and get different points of views,” he said. “It’s one of those things where I would just ask the citizens to, even though you may not like it, that you may try to trust me. It’s something that I believe honestly in the end will work out.”
According to city documents, city staff notified 28 property owners within a 200-foot area of the proposed apartment complex and “received numerous responses from individuals.”
Tony McIlwain, city planner, said although all of the responses the city received were given to the council, several were from individuals who fall outside the 200-foot radius or are not property owners, which do not hold merit in terms of a protest.
Melissa Shontofski, a nearby resident, said in the four weeks since being informed about the development, the neighborhood created a committee, spoken to council members, Mayor Dan Corbin and city staff. She said she also read the city’s comprehensive report, as recommended by city staff.
“The fears of crime, traffic congestion, noise pollution and privacy are still very fresh in our minds,” she said. “Great Lakes Properties proposed a luxury apartment complex. ... We would argue that the definition of luxury is up for interpretation.”
Shontofski said as a resident who has a home butting up against where the complex will be, she fears that once construction begins, the development won’t look as presented.
“Our fear is once construction commences that money allocated for the amenities will be spent on building materials to meet codes, and that pretty pictures being presented will not come to fruition.”
Suzan Pitchford, also a nearby resident, echoed Shontofski’s concerns regarding luxury being subjective. She also expressed concerns regarding the pictures shown depicting the apartment complex far exceeding the city’s requirements in its ordinance, and she fears the end result won’t be as nice as what the developer presented.