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Panel starts review of city building standards

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Killeen’s masonry committee met for the first time Wednesday to establish its goals and go over the latest census and real estate market data.

The city established the committee — made up of council members, local builders and planning and zoning commissioners — to develop a masonry and design standard dictating what it wants to see in future residential and commercial developments.

The ordinance was sent back to the drawing board after it was narrowly rejected by the Killeen City Council last month. The proposed ordinance, developed by the city’s planning and zoning commission, called for residentially zoned homes to be built with 75 percent masonry materials on all sides of the first floor and 50 percent on the second floor. It also required commercially zoned structures to be 80 percent masonry materials.

The committee decided to start from scratch in developing a new code that addresses not only the materials that can be used, but also the overall aesthetics of structures.

Johnny Frederick, planning and zoning commissioner, said he believes the committee should hone in on what homes will look like in the future. “I’m looking at 20 years from now when there’s another council and another (planning and zoning commission), they don’t say, ‘Well, I wish they would have done this.’”

Tim Farek, a local builder, said he believes the ordinance should look at the “big picture” and “keep the housing affordable.”

The committee examined 2010 census data, which shows an average income of $44,787 for Killeen residents between 2007 and 2011.

Farek said the problem with reviewing design standards from cities like Temple, Belton or Georgetown is that their median income is greater, which makes the housing markets different.

To gain a truer number, Frederick suggested research be done to determine the median income of homeowners in Killeen instead of using census data, which encompasses all residents.

According to the census website, 50 percent of Killeen residents are homeowners — 14 percent lower than the state average.

Contact Natalie Stewart at nstewart@kdhnews.com or 254-501-7555

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