The Killeen City Council will vote today on a change 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.
The more than 18 acres requested to be rezoned from general commercial to multi-family residential was met with some opposition from nearby residents.
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.”
The responses expressed concerns regarding an apartment complex decreasing property value and increasing crime in the neighborhood.
Tony McIlwain, city planner, said all the responses were given to the council, but some are from individuals who don’t fall within the 200-foot radius or are not property owners, which do not hold merit in terms of a protest.
Councilman Steve Harris said he wants to see crime statistics before voting.
“Is there an increase, a decrease?” Harris asked city staff. “How much crime happens around apartment complexes?”
Larry Longwell, assistant police chief, said the department’s crime analysts can gather data, but no two areas are the same.
“It really is hard to say if you put an apartment complex in that crime will go up,” he said. “It is dependent upon the development.”
McIlwain said the proposals for the apartment complex “may be the best we have in the city.”
Councilman Terry Clark and Mayor Pro Tem Elizabeth Blackstone both favor the development.
“I’ve lived in apartments and I have lived in a house. I think most of us have,” Blackstone said. “I don’t think we can stereotype an apartment to have more crime.”
Blackstone said the development is necessary to accommodate growth in that part of Killeen.
Clark said “this is the right project in the right place at the right time.”
“I drove around that area. ... It’s a very dynamic part of our community right now,” he said. “This seems like the right place and the right time to start doing this type of work out there. A lot of people are young professionals or are going to college and live in apartment complexes during those times in their lives.”
McIlwain said city staff recommends the council support the development.
The council will hold a public hearing at 5 p.m. today on the rezoning.
The council will hold a workshop meeting following its regular meeting at City Hall, 101 N. College St. The Dec. 24 regular meeting was moved to Dec. 17.
City staff will present the council with a proposed ordinance regarding raising towing fees. The issue was discussed in several previous meetings.
In its workshop meeting last week, the council recommended city staff draft an ordinance raising the towing fee to $150, adding a flat-bed fee of $50, a wait-time fee of $20 charged in 15-minute increments, a $95 per hour winching fee charged in 30-minute increments and a $3 charge per mile if the vehicle is towed outside Killeen. The current rate is $90 fee for arrest-related tows and $110 for accidents. Fees haven’t been raised in 10 years.
The council also will discuss how to fill the municipal judge vacancy when Judge William Gibson retires in January.