November 20, 2022
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After a developer told city officials that many of Killeen’s architectural and design standards would be met in the construction of hundreds of homes near South Fort Hood Street, they felt comfortable recommending to accede to the company’s request to reduce recoil requirements.
“The agreement we have reached is that they mostly – but not completely – meet our architectural standards,” City Manager Kent Cagle said Monday. “They have reduced the number of homes for which they are requesting withdrawal changes. It reduces setback requirements for 246 lots. Originally it was 386 lots and they reduced it to 246 lots.
Such an agreement was presented to members of Killeen City Council at a workshop on September 20 – nearly a month after JOF Developers filed an application to reduce front yard setbacks from 25 feet to 20 feet, on the side yard from 7 feet to 5 feet and at the back from 25 feet to 20 feet. What followed in the weeks after that meeting was “a compromise” on the cuts.
“It’s the side and back setbacks,” Cagle said.
Front setbacks – the distance between the front of the house and the street – will remain at 25 feet. However, the developer will get the setbacks mitigated on the sides and back of each lot.
In turn, the town receives a commitment from the developer to apply many of the architectural and design standards council members adopted in May – more than two years after council approved the planned unit development at Levy Crossing. . The standards aim to improve the quality of housing, particularly in terms of aesthetics.
The amendment applies to approximately 63 of the 173 acres to allow for reduced setback requirements for 246 lots. Although the new standards do not include setback guidelines different from those of the planned unit development requirements, the developer’s floor plans would have triggered clauses in the architecture and design standards ordinance of site that would prevent the company from building homes to builders’ specifications.
“I can’t speak for the council, but I have never opposed the project,” Councilman Ken Wilkerson said in an email to the Herald. “I just wanted to make sure the modification process was properly undertaken. With the advent of the new standards imposed, and this being a pre-approved project, this created a scenario… which required a discussion between our planning and development department and the developers to interpret a fair and acceptable result.
Councilwoman Jessica Gonzalez agreed.
“In this particular case, it just didn’t make sense to penalize them when they were achieving 75-80% of those design standards,” she said. “For me, we had to follow the process. But in this case, it was a different scenario.
On Aug. 23, board members told JOF Developers — owned by Gary Purser Jr. — that they would not negotiate with that company or others to circumvent new architecture and design standards passed in May. They eventually filed a decision on the developer’s request to reduce the setback lines for the types of homes he planned to build in the planned unit development to give staff members, Killeen Engineering and Surveying and JOF Developers time to discuss their options.
“They’re not asking to change the front yard setback,” Ed Revell said at the Sept. 20 workshop. “But they are still asking to change the side yard from 7 to 5 feet and the back yard from 25 feet to 20 feet. The proponent has agreed to retain the landscaping requirements as well as adding several architectural requirements. »
Revell is the executive director of city development services.
New architectural requirements include repeat standard, garage standard, upgraded windows, architectural details, variable roof design, and at least three of the following: recessed garage, vertical articulation, covered front porch, exterior finishing materials variable or upgraded garage doors.
PUD Levy Crossing was approved in July 2020 – nine months after the property was annexed within the city limits. The new architectural and design standards for the Killeen site were approved on May 22 and came into effect on May 30. The developer would have been affected because he wanted to include three-car garages in the construction of at least some of the houses.
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“Staff finds that the amended request for reduced setback only applies to the ‘R-1’ zoning district which constitutes a reduced number of lots and includes an array of architectural standards that will be implemented immediately,” according to the city records. “Staff find this request to be in line with the policies and principles discussed in the recently adopted comprehensive plan. Accordingly, staff recommends approval of the PUD change request as submitted by the applicant. »
Cagle said R-1 zoning is about minimum square footage for homes.
“Initially, we just didn’t have adequate information when they came back to us,” Gonzalez said. “It wasn’t what we thought.”
But Councilman Riakos Adams said he plans to make a motion at Tuesday’s city council meeting to remove the consent agenda item for further consideration.
“I thought there was a mixed tone on the board at the August 23 meeting,” he said Monday. “I backed and seconded the amendment to table the issue because the order allows for some negotiation and there was a disagreement between the staff and the developer. Now that they have met and there are changes from what was previously discussed, I think there should be another public hearing to allow (residents) another opportunity to comment.
Mayor Debbie Nash-King said council members wanted — and had been given — more information about Lev Crossing’s PUD regarding architectural and design standards.
“The council asked staff and the applicant to work together on a set of architectural design standards that would move the project forward. The project is in line with the “big ideas” and principles of the 2022 Comprehensive Plan, such as building whole neighborhoods rather than housing estates. »
The change request is on the agenda for Tuesday’s meeting at City Hall, 101 N. College St. The meeting is scheduled for 5 p.m.
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