LOCAL GOVERNMENT

Following resident and safety concerns, the Killeen City Council will further discuss rezoning 13.5 acres of property near Cunningham Road for an affordable housing project during a 4 p.m. workshop meeting Tuesday.

The council will meet in the city’s Utility Collections conference room, 210 W. Avenue C.

Last week the council voted 5-2 to table rezoning the property from a single-family residential district to a planned unit development, with two-family residential district and multifamily residential district uses.

Senior Planner Tony McIlwane said the concept for the project, which would be known as Hyde Estates, was presented to the council Feb. 23.

The applicant is pending approval from the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs’ tax credit program, which allows developers to use tax credits to create affordable housing.

According to the project proposals, the development in Killeen would include 76 dwelling units in four duplex buildings on the site.

Although city staff mailed 57 notifications to nearby residents within the 200-foot required notification area, several others say they oppose the development.

McIlwayne said there were four known resident oppositions.

Another eight publicly spoke against it during the council’s Tuesday regularly scheduled meeting.

JoAnn Brooks said she wants to know what the city plans to do regarding increased police patrol and street lights. Brooks said she does not want to see increased crime or her property value decrease.

Diane Sims, who’s lived in the area for more than 15 years, agreed.

“I don’t want to postpone anyone from being better by living in better housing. I came from Detroit, so I know what it means to live in a project,” Simms said. “However, I know what it means to live how I live now, and I want to retain that.”

While Sims said she understands the council doesn’t have control on where people buy property, she asked if there’s a way the proposed development could be moved somewhere else.

Councilwoman Shirley Fleming asked officials the same question after hearing the residents’ concerns.

Arthur Schuldt, president of Housing Solutions Alliance a partner of the development, said in looking at TDHCA guidelines, the area currently looked at would help score maximum points because of its proximity to a school and Census tracts of a “least poverty level.”

“In looking at a map of the city, this was the site that met that criteria and was available for sale,” Schuldt said.

Other residents who spoke against the development last week, cited safety, traffic and decreased property value concerns.

Councilman Jim Kilpatrick said he’s received calls similar to the ones stated at the council meeting, which is why he would not support the rezoning request.

“In their minds, it does affect the safety, the general welfare of their living,” Kilpatrick said.

Councilman Jonathan Okray said a lot of the residents who spoke last week are his neighbors, and he moved into the area in 1999. He said he’s looking at the community as a whole when considering the project.

“We can’t continue to put people in poverty back into poverty,” Okray said. “We’re trying to break the poverty spirit, and what that means is new environment and new places for people to live.”

Darlene Golden, a volunteer with the Killeen Housing Authority, was the only resident to speak in favor of the project.

“Coming from a military standpoint to also seeing the family members that are not in the military that’s here, I’m seeing that they need something like this,” she said.

McIlwane said the city’s planning and zoning commission recommended approval of the project, with facade conditions and adhering to the city’s ordinances to place screening or fencing in area’s of the property that abuts single-family residences, along with landscaping requirements for trees and shrubs to serve as additional buffers.

Councilman Richard “Dick” Young said he has concerns about the project only having one point of ingress and egress, or entering and exiting, and asked if there’s a way to make the entry points wider.

Project engineer Pedro Quintero said the International Fire Code allows for one access point for 100 dwelling units or less. The double access road for the project meets minimal fire-lane width, which would be looked at once more going through the platting process, Quintero said. Regarding ingress and egress points, Quintero said there’s about 422-feet of street frontage, and adding another access point would create five driveways 60 feet apart.

Mark Clifford, president of the Killeen Professional Firefighters Association, said he still has concerns with the minimum requirements when factoring in the size of a fire truck and cars already parked on streets creating “tight spots.”

Councilman Gregory Johnson, who initially made a motion to support the development, withdrew the motion after hearing concerns to table the discussion for this week’s workshop meeting and a vote at the next regularly scheduled council meeting.

In other business, during this week’s workshop meeting council members will discuss: potential revenue tools and enterprise funds for the city, an update on the city manager search process, purchasing nine fully-equipped police vehicles for a cost of more than $540,000, purchasing 42 vehicles outlined in the city’s fleet replacement plan at a cost of more than $934,000 and a resident request to allow pot belly pigs in the city. Following the workshop meeting, the council will meet in a special-called meeting to receive the city manager’s proposed fiscal year 2017 budget.

Contact Rachael Riley at rriley@kdhnews.com or 254-501-7553

(7) comments

Alvin

This is the personal opinion of this writer.
@realist10: What gets me is that people like the people who complain, gripe, etc., nothing is ever said that addresses our questions. Why not give us an answer every once in a while, but no, they continue on their very on path like 'we are not there. And I give you Ms. Farris who tells the council that it will take $8 million to equalize the budget, $6 million to the KPD. Where is the other $2 million dollars?
Then she says it will be another 5 to 6 weeks before the budget can be let, and she turns around and says she would like 'another' council session to go over the budgetary items that in limbo, re; ' purchasing nine fully-equipped police vehicles at a cost of $540,000, the purchasing as outlined in the city's fleet replacement plan for 42 vehicles at a cost of $934,000'. That's only $ 1.5 million, where is the additional 4,5 million? Is she going to 'spoon feed' the council until she gets what she wants and to H*ll with a budget that will 'get us out of the hole, as a city, we are in.
What are the water rates for this coming year? What is the question of 'design/construction budget/plan/schedule? What is the consensus of 'How much water is the city of Killeen regarding the recent Water Commission ruling? These are answers the city of Killeen has to answer for, but nothing is forth coming.
I would suggest to this council, don't let her, and the city management, do it. Dig your heels in and say,
'No More', not until we get a budget, a reasonable and sound budget and make her pay up or get out. If you don't and acquiesce to her on this budget, then I say, 'you all aught to quit the council and let the management of this city revert to others as you will be a council in figurehead only.
We can all see it, why can't this council???
The objective is to press for an audit by the Texas Rangers. You know the small town of Borger, Texas was placed under the control of the Texas Rangers for approximately 18 months so anything is possible.
This is the personal opinion of this writer.
One of the 3% who voted.

Realist10

@Alvin I completely agree with your opinion.
I also never understood why Ann Farris delivers responses to the Dick Young pursuant to his questions in email; those are good questions referencing fleet that deserve answers for all to hear.

nulisecundus

the big problem with affordable housing is they end up like the projects in Chicago or New York, high crime areas[sad]

Bear3

The problem with this city goes beyond FY 2016 years shortfall and 'Oops we need $8million dollars!'

This does not fall out of the sky overnight; not in a matter of a few months!

Come on people, constitiuents and all that feel your funds and rights have been violated; take a stance!

These people at city hall have been cognizant of their malpractice and noncompliance and most of all costing the tax payers not just $8 million but managing to deplete a cumulative overall amount of $20 million minimum in all major funds.

Why are the current master plans not posted on the website showing future utility rate increases?!

Why have the financial statements not been maintained on the website over the last several years?!

Why have procurement laws been neglected and complete turnover in key personnel in Purchasing, Finance, Human Resources upper management taken place?!

The hiring freezes of 134 positions equates to savings but not in the city of Killeen's circumstance.....it is time to call the FBI or Texas Rangers, these material amounts do not add up!

The Mayor and City Council should put a halt to all spending in FY 2016 until decisions for the FY 2017 have been made.

The only spending that should take place are for essential items (i.e. utilities, fuel, emergency procurements, payroll, etc).

Alvin

This is the personal opinion of this writer.
I believe this council has the tail wagging the dog again.
If it has been opposed by 8 residents and 4 known residents opposing this project, that was first presented to the council in February, and then to top it all off, the applicant is pending approval from the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs tax credit program, well isn't it tie to take a stand and as the residents apparently 'don't want it' and as they have been approaching this council since February, and The Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs, still hasn't granted any approval as of yet, why is this council so adamant about granting any approvals? Listen to the residents who will have to live there.
Councilwoman Shirley Fleming and Diane Sims asked a very valid question, 'Isn't there somewhere that the proposed development could be moved elsewhere?' As I've before, isn't this move a little premature to grant approvals when the neighbors doesn't want it and especially since the Texas Department of Housing hasn't even made a ruling on it.
And speaking to Jonathan Okray, Doesn't the discontent of your neighborhood say anything to you about your adamant pursuit of this endeavor???
And in regard to the city's planning and zoning commission, I say again, 'Isn't this a little premature seeing as this isn't even approved as of yet and the consideration of the family's who will be forced to live there?'


As for Project engineer Pedro Quintero who stated 'The double access road for the project meets minimal fire-lane width, which would be looked at once more going through the platting process, who also said 'there’s about 422-feet of street frontage, and adding another access point would create five driveways 60 feet apart.'


The double access road for the project meets minimal fire-lane width, which would be looked at once more going through the platting process, Quintero said. Regarding ingress and egress points, Quintero said there’s about 422-feet of street frontage, and adding another access point would create five driveways 60 feet apart. But Mr. Mark Clifford of the Killeen Professional firefighters association said he 'still has concerns with the minimum requirements'.
I personally believe that with all of the negatives associated with this project and factoring in the neighbors feelings, 'this project should be closely looked at, or dropped entirely'.
Now the crux of the matter, this city manager is continuing to delve into deep water. As to Ms. Farris requesting that the council consider, copy: 'purchasing nine fully-equipped police vehicles for a cost of more than $540,000, purchasing 42 vehicles outlined in the city’s fleet replacement plan at a cost of more than $934,000' all I've got to say is 'This council should consider abandoning all such 'pie in the sky' moves until this city manager gives this council a 'budget that is worthwhile to be presented to this council'. The gall of this woman after stating that this council won't be receiving a budget for the next 4 to 5 weeks and then proposes a piecemeal solution that is paramount to all of the other budgets that has been presented to other councils. This is the same thing as this council has suffered through in the past. Be it ever so humble as to say, 'This time the shoes on the other foot, present a worthwhile budget , period.
It is something else to present to this council the scheme of 'purchasing nine fully-equipped police vehicles at a cost of $540,000, the purchasing as outlined in the city's fleet replacement plan for 42 vehicles at a cost of $934,000 when this city manager hasn't even completed a budget in the first place.
I still say that this city manager is responsible for the plan to direct 'all' department heads in the performance of their duty and that is 'put together a plan in which the necessary functions of their departments can be administered and in which the cost for such services, including all incidental services has been included, including a contingency to which the city manager can look over the plans and budgets of each and every department head to see if they have been complete in every way, put this into a format of sufficient clarity so as to be presented to this council. Until she has completed this, there should be no talk of 'going ahead and allocating such funds as has been presented.
I don't really care if this council rules on a measure that would allow a resident request to allow pot belly pigs in the city.
Of course, this has been a presentation of this individual and should be considered as his personal opinion to be done with as this council desires.
One of the 3% who voted.

DAW007

The problem with this city is that it appears that the only thing they are willing to do for this city is build more houses. No major business in this area is Ft Hood, hotels, and food joints.

We send our kids to collage and what's here for them. A big NOTHING to keep them here. What has the city Planning & Development done for this city. Most jobs here are at minimum wage or and not much higher yet it's the same thing. Build houses and tax the base. I am seriously considering leaving this city.

DAW007

The sad part of this is that those with the responsibility of managing the city funds new this short fall was coming. Regardless of who is/was in charge, Yet we the people will pay in the end. Other than down town and the trail that is being constructed off of Bobbinet and the downtown projects,, I see to no changes/improvement in this city other than increase in fees and charges.

How many bunds have been voted on. Once these bunds are satisfied, what happens? .Easy answer, we keep paying and paying, yet the bond issue was satisfied. This city is operating it's budget the same way the feds do. Keep spending regardless of what. Again, we the people pay. Good thing is the city can not print money.

My second comment on this and this city, is the city manager. Regardless of her position or pay, she has a job to do. If she can not meet deadlines or provide the city council with requested info, perhaps it's time to find someone who can.

Looks like we have another soup sandwich in the works.

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