Killeen city entity approved for housing development

Killeen resident James Ralston spoke in favor of creating a new public facility corporation at the Killeen City Council meeting on Tuesday.

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.

swilson@kdhnews.com | 254-501-7463

(2) comments

overseer

@Noneofyourbiz - - As I perused over your comments, it quickly became obvious to me that you are either new to politics in our beloved city of Killeen, Texas or may not have done your own research and have responded based on what someone else may have told you.

As a frequent follower of our city council, of which many meetings I watch online by choice, I will start off by saying that I am a fan of Councilman Harris. In my belief, he is an upstanding gentleman who appears to be one of the few who always votes their conscious and not the conscious of, as you say, donors. I will address each of your comments one by one as based on my limited but, greater knowledge.

Common sense dictates, that even early in the presentations on the complex, that lines were already being drawn. If it seemed obvious that a yes vote was planned, did it also seem obvious that those who voted against it planned their not vote was also planned? If you say, "No" then no plan was made. Unless, with a very dark thought, would you assume that those who voted in favor of the complex somehow found a secret meeting place with the Mayor and planned the votes after the passing of the honorable Councilman, Jim Kilpatrick?

Your attempt to establish suspicion based off of a council member's re-election bid or their terming out is standard; but, have you ever considered that those who voted against it were very confident that they could do so because they may have believed there would be no repercussions for them? The vote for the complex offers no benefit to council members. It does not benefit any developer in Killeen. Killeen developers spoke against it if you have forgotten. I ask you, who would be their "donors"? From what I watched, more residents were for the complex than was against it, at the council meetings and, at the public hearing. The only donations I surmise may be gained, would be from citizens like yourself who, though, supported the complex.

Council Woman Fleming voted to extend the time of this proposal. She voted in favor of extending the proposal by agreeing to a public hearing which set back the return of the proposal by over 2 weeks. She did nothing, from what I observed, to rush the process.

My opinion is this, if you still have "many" unanswered questions about this project, you did not attend or watch the meetings in which Councilwoman Brown asked a, "figuratively speaking" a thousand questions. Nothing was left on the table and, I do not believe a crumb on the floor.

Maybe councilman Harris was proud of what they had accomplished and wanted to sign his name on the approval document. It is known to happen. He may have seen it as a big deal for the city.

You factually told a lie or made a significant mistake in stating that Councilman Harris was fine with "raising taxes". Councilman Harris has NEVER voted in favor of a fee or tax increase. He has been a staunch defender of both instances. I am befuddled how you could make a mistake in your statement about this. I have to ponder on whether or not your statements have an ulterior motive.

Do you live in the Northside? Do you, really, know what revitalization entails? I perceive the fishy smell may be coming from a source of misinformation that you have received. Is it also a sign that, you have said nothing negative about or questioned the motives of the 3rd council member who voted in favor of the complex? Is it even more strange that you said nothing about the Mayor's vote and integrity I do believe you have effectively discredited your credibility.

If you go back and review councilman Harris's and other council members financials, you will find that Mr. Harris has received little to no donations in all of his races. Who have, or will you support, in past or upcoming elections.

Noneofyourbiz

All of this smells, it seems that these votes were some how planned.

Those that voted for the PFC are either up for re-election or thier seat is up for election and they can't run again.

Those that voted against it, seemed to know that it was going to pass and voted against it just in case a recall was done.

Strange is how fast fleming wanted to vote on it. When tough question were asked about it.

Many unanswered questions on this.

Big question is why Harris was so worried about if he and nash-king were going to get to sign this. Along with him staying that he don't feel that the increase in taxes were going to cause any harm.

Once again this smells bad, for the North side and screams loudly of something fishy from New York has entered into our city.

Pay to play, and pay back for political donations, on the tax payers dollars.

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