• September 16, 2014

Whitis gets rezoning approved

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Posted: Wednesday, September 23, 2009 12:00 pm | Updated: 10:47 am, Thu Feb 13, 2014.

By Hailey Persinger

Killeen Daily Herald

Killeen City Council members approved two long-simmering ordinances Tuesday, one of which will allow for the development of south Killeen and another that requires residents to pay a higher price for excessive noise.

After more than a month of negotiations between developer Bruce Whitis and council members, the city agreed to rezone nearly 215 acres north of Chaparral Road. Its previous status as an R-1 zone wouldn't have allowed Whitis the average 6,000-square-foot lot size he wanted. Now, as a planned-use development, or PUD, the land will allow Whitis to build 1,325-square-foot homes on an average lot size of 6,000 square feet.

The plan also includes two playgrounds, a hike and bike trail and 20 acres of open space that Councilwoman JoAnn Purser, who represents the district in which the development will be built, said will make the plan an easier pill to swallow for disgruntled residents.

During the last public hearing regarding the development, two residents expressed dissatisfaction with the proposal and asked that a moratorium be placed on building until the city had completed its comprehensive plan.

"At first glance they're going to be surprised and upset," Purser said, "but after looking at it, I think the 20 acres will be a good complement to what they're used to."

Now that rezoning has been approved, Whitis will begin platting the property. He said the process of defining lots and technical details can take up to six months but that he is ready to move forward.

"We think we've done what will be best for the community and the citizens," he said.

The council also approved changes to the city's noise ordinance, an issue that residents and council members have discussed several times.

According to the new ordinance, the first violation now carries a $100 fine instead of the previous $75 and a resident found in violation a second time within 12 months will pay at least $250.

Police are no longer required to give a warning before issuing a citation under the new ordinance, a sticking point with Councilman Billy Workman, the council's lone dissenter on the issue.

"Give them a chance to be responsible," he said. "What's wrong with a simple warning?"

Councilman Juan Rivera said police are not required to give a citation and under the new ordinance have more freedom to discern reasonable noise complaints.

"Noise can be taken care of," he said. "This gives police officers the ability to go either way."

The ordinance defines a violation as any noise that interferes with "the comfortable enjoyment of life, property, recreation and conduct of business," but some residents have said that by the time police respond to such nuisances, the noise has ended.

In response to the dilemma, city and police department representatives streamlined the complaint process to allow residents to file noise complaints at the police station. Reports will be considered and, if deemed reasonable, will be heard in municipal court.

Contact Hailey Persinger at haileyp@kdhnews.com or (254) 501-7568.

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