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The Killeen City Council killed a controversial request to clear the way for a special-needs therapy center abutting a residential neighborhood after an emotional and lengthy public hearing Tuesday.

During a hearing on the first of two ordinances to change the city’s Future Land Use Map and zoning on a 3.74-acre rural parcel of land at the northern corner of Watercrest and Cody Poe roads, residents of the Lake Crest on the Hill neighborhood on Prestige Loop told the council the relocated Harker Heights center was unwanted due to its being out of character with the residential neighborhood and the possibility of increased traffic.

Lindsey Emmons, the owner of Stable Life Concepts in Harker Heights who requested to move her business to Killeen, said the center would be used for one-on-one therapy for special-needs children but could be expanded to adult patients and patients with chronic illnesses.

“Moving from Harker Heights would be beneficial for the clients that we have and our employees,” Emmons said.

Opponents to the request, including Blaine Smith, a Prestige Loop resident, said bringing a business so close to the neighborhood would damage quality of life and increase traffic and danger to neighborhood children.

“When I go out on my patio, it’s the first thing I’ll see out the back of my house,” Smith said. “When more traffic comes into that area, they’re going to use that loop as a detour.”

Current employees of Stable Life Concepts and parents of children at the center also addressed the council, highlighting the number of patients from military families and the convenience of a center so close to Fort Hood.

Elizabeth Brown-Miller, a Texas A&M University-Central Texas professor who also works at the center, said she hoped local residents would avoid “NIMBY-ism” or a “not in my backyard” mentality when considering the benefits the center would offer.

“We have a family-oriented business that treats our clients like family,” Brown said.

Ultimately, the council unanimously voted against the map adjustment due to traffic concerns tied to the new business, which at its peak would bring 100 to 110 new vehicles to the area at peak hours.

“I’m tremendously concerned about the traffic,” said Councilman Jim Kilpatrick, in whose district the business would reside. “I get two to five calls per week on traffic out there.”

After the council disapproved the map adjustment, Emmons withdrew the associated zoning change request to facilitate the move.

In other business at its regular meeting Tuesday, the council:

Voted unanimously to approve budget amendments to pay for unforeseen financial needs in the city’s street maintenance and streets divisions. Finance Director Jonathan Locke said $74,693 was needed for vehicle repairs due to multiple engine failures in street division vehicles. The proposed funds to cover the budget amendment would be redirected from salary lag in the Killeen Police Department fund in the 2017 budget.

Voted against raising a Killeen Arts Commission grant for the Vive Les Arts Societe from $45,000 to around $90,000 despite members of the VLA board addressing the council asking for more financial support. The VLA Theatre recently overhauled its board of directors after nearly closing its doors.

kyleb@kdhnews.com | 254-501-7567

(1) comment


This is the personal opinion of this writer.

For once in quite a long time, this city council has taken the initiative to do something, in my personal opinion, that is worthy of this city and this city council and 'turned down a specific request for something that is not in this neighborhood's interest'. I congratulate this city council.

Now how about the specific needs of a certain builder's consortium, written by this newspaper entitled 'Killeen getting 9 new homes' and in which it says and I copy: 'There were nine permits issued last week for the construction of new single-family residences worth a total value of $1.15 million. Four of the new houses will be built by contractor D.R. Horton, Purser Homes and Tippit Homes will each build two new homes, and Barnes Homebuilders will construct the final home in the city.
The city has issued permits worth a total value of $121.57 million so far this year.' End of copy.

This city has been entertaining these same home builders, 'since time immortal'.

How about this city council again re-introducing the moratorium called for by councilman Steve Harris and how about at least 3 additional council members call for this to be placed on the agenda, in sufficient time so as to allow this motion to be carried by the city council.

I personally believe that it is high time to call for a moratorium by this city council, revisit the architecture of a city wide bond issue that is only for the builders group that is being helped by this infrastructure and does 'nothing' for the city of Killeen but has to pay for the extravagance of this city service that goes forward with expediency of footing the infrastructure needs of a housing consortium that is 'outside of this city's limit's. When are we, as a city going to reap some of these vast benefits????

It is said that this city has issued nine permits last week for the construction of nine single family residences worth a total value this year of $121.57 million dollars. This weeks toll goes to contractor D.R. Horten, 4 of the homes, Purser Homes and Tippit Homes to build 2 each of these homes, and Barnes Homebuilder's get the final home in this city.

People, I am of the personal opinion that 'this enterprise is for the self gratification of the home building and sellers of these homes and not doing anything significant for the citizens of this city but 'getting to provide the infrastructure for these homes'.

This has been the personal opinion of this writer and nothing shall be used, in context or without or changed in any way without first notifying, and receiving explicit approval from this writer.
One of the 4.58 % who voted.

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