When a rezoning request went before the Killeen City Council on Tuesday for the fifth time, several councilmen questioned the motives for reducing the size of the request.
The request has failed four times since March 2013 to gain council approval.
W.B.W. Land Investment is requesting the council zone 9.892 acres just west of Rein Drive from agricultural single-family residential to suburban residential, the same request that failed to get council approval in May, but with a 20 percent reduction in acreage. In May, the developer wanted 12.36 acres rezoned.
Tony McIlwain, city planner, said an applicant can present a request to the council more than once if the size of the request is reduced by 20 percent, according to city ordinance.
“The project continues to shrink and shrink and shrink; it’s not going to find my support,” Councilman Terry Clark said. “It’s simply a veil to get out of the 200-foot notification area because it creates a buffer. I can’t support this because it gets smaller and smaller.”
Councilman Steve Harris agreed: “Getting out of the 200-foot radius is part of the plan.”
Kathy Harkin, who lives in the notification area on Rein Drive, expressed a similar concern when the zoning request went before the council in May.
“If that was our sole purpose to get out of the notification area, we would have probably gone a different route, to be totally honest,” said Josh Welch, a representative for the developer. “The reason we picked this strip is because of the access to Stagecoach (Road).”
Failed in May
In May, the request failed in a 4-3 vote. Although four council members voted in favor of the zoning change, because 13 of 48 notified residents — 20 percent — opposed the request, it failed.
With the reduced acreage requested for a zoning change, the city was required to notify 32 nearby property owners; 12 opposed, or 16 percent. With less than 20 percent objecting, the request does not need a majority vote to pass.
Although the number of residents required to be notified by state law was reduced with the smaller acreage request, McIlwain said residents can still go before the council during the public hearing to state their opinions on the development.
Clark said if the project was brought forward on a larger scale, it could get his support.
“Our intent is to use this whole property,” Welch said. “We reduced the size because we thought having a smaller tract would be easier to get zoned to start with. The reason we did it smaller is because in the ordinance, it says to bring it back to reduce the size. So, that’s why we did that to bring it back.”
The item first went before the council in March 2013 when the developer requested a change to the city’s future land-use map and the rezoning of 62.31 acres. The council denied the future land-use map portion of the request and tabled the rezoning part.
It went back before the council in February when the group heard the request to rezone the 62.31 acres from agriculture single-family to single-family residential. The council denied the request, saying it was inconsistent with the future land-use map.
The request was amended again to rezone 12.36 acres to suburban residential single-family in April, but the developer had it pulled from the agenda before the council’s vote. It was brought back again in May, when it was denied.
“The applicant is seeming to promote the type of growth that we are requesting with the comprehensive plan,” McIlwain said of the current item before the council.
Welch said if the zoning isn’t approved by the council this time, “we don’t know what we will do.”
The council is slated to vote on the item at its meeting Tuesday.
Contact Natalie Stewart at firstname.lastname@example.org or 254-501-7555