• December 26, 2014

Killeen council rejects zoning notification expansion

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Posted: Sunday, August 10, 2014 4:30 am

A Killeen councilman proposed expanding the city’s notification radius for rezoning cases; however, the request was narrowly defeated.

By state law, when a property owner requests to have his property rezoned, the city is required to notify residents within a 200-foot radius of the property being rezoned. The mandate also allows cities to increase its notification area.

Councilman Steve Harris sent a memorandum to the council requesting the radius be expanded beyond the minimum standard required by the state because of the city’s growing population and density.

“With the growth the city of Killeen is experiencing, the standard 200-foot radius is no longer enough to provide residents in the surrounding area to be possibly rezoned an adequate amount of representation by members of that particular neighborhood,” Harris said. “Also, based on the desired amount of rezoned land, it is easier for many residents to be excluded from the public commenting process depending on the amount of space.”

Harris proposed the radius be expanded to 350 feet.

“This distance will allow for more resident involvement in rezoning processes,” he said.

The council rejected Harris’ request by a 4-3 vote — Mayor Pro Tem Elizabeth Blackstone and Councilmen Jose Segarra, Wayne Gilmore and Juan Rivera rejected the move.

“If it’s not broke, why fix it?” Blackstone said.

Segarra said because Killeen is more dense, he doesn’t see a need to expand the radius.

“That means that there’s more people in a certain area. So you already have more people who live in that 200 feet,” he said. “I would think it would be opposite, if you live in an area where you don’t have a population because they’re so spread apart ... I see that being relevant.”

Councilmen Jonathan Okray and Terry Clark supported Harris’ idea.

“Sometimes we don’t hear any opposition because there’s nobody there,” Okray said. “I think it’s a good idea that we increase the radius.”

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