By Kevin M. Smith
Killeen Daily Herald
Dick Young says everything was done for a reason.
Young, Killeen City Council member and chair of the Land Use Committee, says that's why the City Council turned down a request to change the land-use plan at Tuesday's meeting.
Gary Purser Jr., a local developer, asked the City Council at a public hearing Tuesday to change the State Highway 195/State Highway 201 land-use plan so that some of the commercial property is rezoned to be residential.
The land along Highway 195, south of Stan Schlueter Loop, includes a tract of land on the east side of the road that has a 500-foot commercial depth of 1,500 feet. Purser asked the City Council to change the commercial depth to 300 feet and the remaining 200 feet to be added to the residential section.
"People have no use for it," Purser told council members Tuesday, noting that a 300-foot depth is the maximum most businesses want. "What I am telling you is what the market is telling me."
But Young protested at changing the land-use plan.
"It's a recommendation to ensure an orderly future growth to the city," Young said.
Young says he does not want a "hodgepodge" of businesses and housing like on Business 190 and Rancier Avenue.
"The developers are looking at today and I'm looking at five to 10 years down the road," Young said.
The land-use plan along the southern edge of Fort Hood Street was adopted in August 2005 after a consulting firm met with the Land Use Committee. In addition to a study by Carter & Burgess Inc., the Land Use Committee had public hearings and stakeholder meetings before sending the plan to the City Council for final approval.
Purser was at the public hearings and said he protested the 500-foot depth. But Young, who was also at the hearings, said it must not have been a good enough case to change it at the time.
Andrew Allemand, Killeen city planner, said the 500-foot depth was chosen for more flexibility. Retail shopping strips would ideally fit in the 500-foot depth.
Despite the Planning and Zoning Commission approving Purser's request 6-1, the City Council voted 4-1 to disapprove the request, with Councilman Otis Evans the lone dissenting vote, saying the land-use plan is not set in stone and should be used as a guide.
The Pursers can resubmit the request or submit a revision.
"They can provide more documentation and a new level of study," Allemand said.
Young says he wants more than that.
"I want to see a comprehensive plan," he said. "If they come to us with a comprehensive plan, then I think we might look favorably to accommodate them."
Purser said Friday that he plans to resubmit his request to change the land-use plan, but not with a comprehensive plan.
"There should be flexibility in this," Purser said.
Contact Kevin M. Smith at email@example.com or call (254) 501-7550