The Killeen City Council, by a 4-3 vote Tuesday, approved the creation of a public facility corporation, which paves the way for a $51 million housing development on the north side of Killeen.
Council members split 3-3 on the proposal, with Steve Harris, Shirley Fleming and Debbie Nash-King in favor of creating the corporation. Council members Mellisa Brown, Rick Williams and Ken Wilkerson opposed the plan.
Mayor Jose Segarra cast the tie-breaking vote in favor of the ordinance.
The PFC has been proposed specifically for a potential multifamily housing project by The NRP Group with the city.
“Consideration of that specific project will come forward at a later date, but the viability of the project is dependent on the city’s creation of a PFC because of the tax-exempt status the PFC can provide to a public facility,” Killeen City Manager Kent Cagle said in Dec. 10 staff report.
The vote for the creation of the corporation, along with the approval of two related rezoning items the NRP project would require, also passed 4 to 3, with the same members voting for and against. Segarra cast the tie-breaking vote for each item.
Since November, the council has been in discussion with Ohio-based NRP Group, which seeks to build an apartment complex near the intersection of W.S. Young Drive and Business 190.
To do this, the city has discussed the establishment a public facility corporation, an option available only to municipalities, not to private developers.
NRP has indicated the public facility corporation to be a requirement of the project, and would allow the company to not pay property taxes for 75 years — something local developers have taken issue with.
It would also be located in the North Killeen Revitalization Program area. According to a city report, this program serves to promote the development and redevelopment of North Killeen and includes incentives for residential and commercial/business structures’ rehabilitation, expansion or new construction.
Initially, the corporation would have been available to use for additional future projects. Per a revised version of the corporation’s certificate of formation, the corporation would now be used exclusively for the NRP project.
“Council asked that it be restricted solely for this project,” City Spokesperson Hilary Shine said by email on Tuesday. “A Certificate of Formation must be signed and filed with the Secretary of State. A meeting of the board would then have to be called, officers elected and contract with NRP approved. If the PFC is disapproved, a PFC would not be formed.”
On Dec. 10, the city hosted a public form on the proposed NRP project at the Killeen Civic and Conference Center. At that time, several dozen residents expressed their opinions, both for and against the project. Issues raised included adequate infrastructure for the project, traffic congestion, property taxes, and most significantly, the 75-year tax abatement NRP would receive.
On Tuesday, Killeen resident Holly Teel spoke in opposition to the corporation.
“The tax burden is a hefty burden which comes along with a PFC,” she said.
Resident James Ralston spoke in favor of the corporation.
“It’s good for the city,” he said.
In other action Tuesday, the council unanimously voted not to adopt a proposed ordinance, done at the request of Garrett Nordyke on behalf of Bernard Klimaszewski, to amend the city’s comprehensive plan’s future land use map from an “estate” designation to one of “general residential.” This would apply to three lots located at 5011 Cunnignham Road.
Residents in the area have taken issue with the potential flooding and harm to animals that building the new homes on these lots would bring.
Yajaira Morris sent a letter to the council in December, noting her concern about flooding as well as damage to wildlife between Cunningham, Hope, Love and Onion Roads.
“From a concerned tax paying resident, I do NOT support the request to change the Future Land Use Map (FLUM) at 5011 Cunningham Road, and I would hope that the elected officials of Killeen would follow the city’s comprehensive plan of the city they represent,” Morris said in the letter.
Former council candidate Nina Cobb has lived in that area for over 20 years.
“I don’t think the area could withstand the traffic,” Cobb said at the meeting in opposition to the proposal.
Residents Tim and Heather McNeely reiterated her opposition to the rezoning at the meeting.
The council also approved:
The purchase of 12 canopies for the city park system from Playground Solutions of Texas, in the amount of $183,155.
The purchase of solar LED lighting for the Fort Hood Regional Trail, the Conder Park Trail and the Mickey’s Dog Park, from JEC Energy Solutions in the amount of $235,044.
$90,000 for Aztec Pet Hospital in Harker Heights for contracted veterinary services to the city.