In an effort to drive development in the community, requests for city maps will no longer go before the Killeen City Council.
The council voted, 5-2, to release its duty of overseeing plats at its regular meeting Tuesday. Previously, a request for a plat — a city map showing property boundaries — would go before the planning and zoning commission for approval and then advance to the council to be approved a second time.
State law gives the authority of overseeing plats to the commission, but a city ordinance required it also go before the council for final approval.
The law also mandates that plats meeting the minimum requirements be granted approval, which give the council little to no discretion in approving a plat.
Ray Shanaa, director of planning, said removing the duty from the council will cut processing time for plats nearly in half, and encourage investors to bring development to the city.
Previously, it took a plat 30 days to go through planning and zoning and another 30 days for council action.
“That really prolongs the process when it doesn’t need to be,” Shanaa said. “This will make Killeen more development friendly without reducing regulatory oversight.”
The procedure changed, but Shanaa said the rule and regulations will remain intact.
“(City staff) believes that this will be beneficial to all,” he said.
Councilman Steve Harris, who voted against the change, along with Councilman Jonathan Okray, said he’s concerned Killeen’s new process will be different from surrounding cities.
The Harker Heights City Council initially reviews plat requests before they are passed to the planning and zoning commission, which works out any details before the council for final approval.
In Copperas Cove, major platting requests go before the council and smaller ones before planning and zoning. Shanaa said the purpose of the change is for Killeen to be the leader in planning and development in the county.
“We (city staff) believe by reducing this unnecessary burden ... developers and businesses who wish to come to Killeen (will) look at how much faster our process is (and) want to invest in Killeen before going somewhere else,” he said.
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