New 1,200 home development faces challenges from City Council | Business
One of the largest housing projects in Killeen’s recent history is facing some pushback from the City Council based on infrastructure concerns.
“This is a great development, but I’m wondering if timing is exactly where it needs to be,” Councilman Michael Boyd said. “The infrastructure is not in place.”
The new 390-acre planned unit development (PUD) would stretch from just west of Onion Road in south Killeen to Trimmier Road; it is bounded by Stagecoach Road on the north side and Fire Station 8 to the south.
Once completed, the four-phase development would see a prospective 959 lots built. The development includes a diverse array of housing types, including single family, duplex, agricultural and multifamily options.
In total, the development would offer 241 lots over 52.53 acres of SF-2 (large single-family housing) and 400 lots over 133.62 acres of R-1 (medium and small size single-family housing). In addition, 46 lots over 29.03 acres of SR-1 and 30 lots over 30.39 acres of SR-2 (suburban housing) would be available, as well as 13 lots over 40 acres of light agrictural land (A-R1). Finally, 228 lots over 94.18 acres of duplex housing would act as the development’s western boundary, while two lots over 10.67 acres of B-5 business zoning would give residents access to a possible nearby convenience store.
As proposed, the 30.39 acres of high-value SR-2 zoned property would not be accessible from the main development; instead, a looping road which branches into two cul-de-sacs would only be accessible from East Trimmier Road.
Moreover, the development is planned to include 90 acres of open space, dedicated to the city of Killeen for public parks. About 1,000 hardwood trees, including oak, elm and pecan trees, would be preserved.
In addition, 2.8 miles of 8-foot wide concrete trail is planned to run throughout the development and alongside the existing late, which would connect a playground, two dog parks, a 2,500-square-foot covered pavilion and two parking lots.
The developer has promised to place picnic tables, trash receptacles and benches throughout the project.
Finally, street trees are planned throughout the development, offering shade for residents as they walk through the project.
The current proposal is the result of almost a year of work between the developer, Yowell Ranch, and the city of Killeen, according to the applicant.
If approved, the development would begin construction in October, with phase one housing completing around June 2023; however, some council members are concerned with the state of surrounding roads.
At least three residents near the proposed development have asked the City Council to disapprove the project. One resident, Russel Cobern, said that the development would impede on those residents’ way of life.
“We moved out there, bought property, because we wanted the space, we wanted a rural environment; we wanted horses and all that goes with that kind of life. Quiet, serene,” he said.
Cobern said that construction on the lengthy project, and the density that would come with the completed development, would congest traffic on the already narrow Onion Road. He also said that the development would have a negative impact on what he described as already poor water pressure.
According to members of Killeen’s city staff in response to questions from Councilman Riakos Adams, the area has the correct infrastructure to provide water pressure to the development. In addition, Edwin Revell, the city’s executive director of public works, pointed out that the developer will be required to complete a traffic impact analysis survey — a lengthy process that will evaluate the development’s prospective impact on traffic over the next 10 years, and which will require the developer to help pay for improvements to compensate for any negative impacts they may bring.
Stagecoach Road was another issue; the web-cracked surface has remained in a state of disrepair for several years as the city struggles to close out a lawsuit with the company responsible for the road’s construction. And while City Manager Kent Cagle said the city of Killeen “can no longer continue to wait on the outcome of the lawsuit,” Boyd said there was too much uncertainty to lend his support at this time.
However, Boyd pointed out that Chapparral Road, which would feed into the development, will need to be widened, as will East Trimmier. He also pointed out that Stagecoach requires reconstruction, and that Onion Road and Loop Road must be widened to reduce congestion and otherwise addressed to reduce speeding.
“I love the development; it is needed, it would be great for the city of Killeen, there’s no questions about it,” he said. “But I’m going to echo some of the concerns of some citizens: the road infrastructure is not in place. It is a problem … I am not comfortable saying yes to this knowing that we’re going to have to hope and wait for the road to get developed.”
Council members will consider the proposal again on Tuesday, when they may make a decision.