Killeen Council moves forward with 333-lot Clear Creek neighborhood | Local News
After nearly a month of negotiations, Killeen City Council moved forward on Tuesday in approving Joshua Welch’s large 333-lot single-family development on Clear Creek Road.
Although a significant amount of work remains to be done, City Council unanimously approved the development after several rounds of presentations and sessions at the bargaining table between Welch and city staff.
The development is a total of approximately 80 acres and would be located adjacent to Clear Creek Road, roughly between Modoc Drive and Reese Creek Road.
Since its initial presentation on January 25, the development includes more “green spaces” and dedicated parks, as well as a host of other amenities and compromises.
After presenting the unit’s planned development one last time, planning director Wallis Meshier said staff now recommend supporting the development, without additional restrictions.
“In the spirit of compromise, the staff recommends approving the development,” she said.
Previously, city staff had recommended approving the development if it completely removed “snout houses” or those whose garages take up more than 50% of the house’s foreground facing the street.
However, Meshier said, “I think there has been enough compromise on both sides.”
Councilman Michael Boyd, despite a $1,000 campaign donation from Welch last year, has been the most vocal member of council regarding the development and the most critical. On Tuesday, the councilman said that despite some outlying issues, Welch had addressed many of his concerns, but not all.
Boyd’s previous requests for privacy fencing for housing on collector streets that connect to Clear Creek Road and Reese Creek Road, as well as increased green space and a more substantial neighborhood park had been satisfied. However, some concerns, such as a request for soundproofing for a residence near Clear Creek Road, were not met.
“As I can see here, these last concerns have not been resolved,” Boyd said. “These compromises with the developers are essential, they should be; but I don’t want to give compliments for this stuff.
Councilor Mellisa Brown raised a point of concern regarding the use of two drainage routes to expand the total amount of “green space”. According to Brown, the design of the tract may be too steep or too treacherous for children to use.
“We should avoid a situation where someone hurts themselves, or worse, a child,” she said.
However, Welch said he could not provide details on the design of the drainage routes, as these are usually completed towards the end of development. He also pointed out that his company will have to meet with the city engineer before completing specifications for the lanes.
In the end, Boyd thanked Welch for his ability to compromise and for focusing on the livability of the development.
“I want to thank you for taking the initiative to ensure that the TIA is realised, the pavilion and what it will do for development; again, we did some rounds, but it was worth it,” Boyd said.
Councilwoman Jessica Gonzalez spoke similarly, saying the public negotiation of the development has been fresh and productive.
“It’s really new; I think this is the first time we’ve worked on things like this publicly, and I think it sets a really good standard,” Gonzalez said.
While Brown echoed the city council’s negotiation support, she also said that approving the development would make it less restrictive than current architectural standards, and asked to modify the approval motion on the condition that the development does not have overhanging garages. The motion failed to garner a second.
A motion was presented to approve the development, which passed unanimously.
Speaking after the meeting, Welch said the negotiations had been difficult, but the end product is one that “residents will appreciate”.
“There was a lot of effort and time invested,” he said. “At the end of the day, we have a good project planned, it will be good for the region. We have a good project in place; it’s more restrictive than anything I’ve seen in Killeen, but I think it will be a good neighborhood that residents will enjoy.
Now that the project has planned unit development zoning, Welch still needs to complete and submit a final platform, finalize construction plans and, as part of its agreement with the city, complete an impact analysis on the circulation.